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Coming out of Bangladesh - a Muslim and Hindu find atheism

Over the last two years many secular and atheist Bangladeshi writers and bloggers have been hacked to death by Islamic extremists who will not tolerate any questioning of Islam. Many such people fear for their lives both in and outside of Bangladesh regardless of their original religion. Our speakers this evening have escaped this threat.

Shakil and Shubhajit are formally Muslim and Hindu. They will discuss life in Bangladesh, their path to atheism, the impact on their social and family relationships, the history and position of religion in the country and the place of atheists in Bangladesh.

The takings from this evening will be donated to people / organisations like our speakers, who are trying to escape the predicaments that they find themselves in. This is an evening not to be missed.

Entry to this event will be $5.00 for supporter members of Sydney Atheists and $10.00 for non supporter attendees. Annual Supporter membership is only $20. To become a supporter member, please go to:

Our talk events are held at the Function Room at Club Redfern:

2nd Floor, 159 Redfern St

The entrance is 20 metres across Gibbons Street from Redfern Station under the SPAR sign. You can walk up the stairs, the escalator or use the elevator to the 2nd floor where the club is located. The outside of the venue is shown below.

Parking is available in the shopping complex and adjacent streets.

Please have your meal in the adjacent lounge areas where there is a variety of food and drinks including Australian and Chinese meals - see the menu selection at:

Sydney Atheists look forward to welcoming everyone to a great atmosphere and experience.

Dinner is available from 5.30pm whilst the talks begin at 7.00pm. As there will be limited table space, it is preferable to have meals in the restaurant section of the club before entering the function area, though bringing drinks in will be fine.

Once a month the Meetup meets for a topical discussion with a special guest. Special guests in the past have been members of the meetup, or experts from outside, speaking on topics of their expertise. If you wish to speak, or know somebody who would like to speak to us, please contact Steve[masked] 211.

With the approval of our speakers, we also attempt to record our talks and put them up on our youtube channel.

Join or login to comment.

  • John

    Re-inforced my belief that religion is a means of controlling people, and for better government, church and the State MUST remain separated. Do people living under such oppressive and brutal regimes REALLY believe what Islam says- eg that infidels must be killed and that you will go a heaven consisting of endless mindless sex. It says what such men think with. The absurd and illogical claims- 'Believers'- may simply believe out of fear- just in case when they die there really is a god and hell, etc The rest?- . Cognitive dissonance? (accommodating conflicting evidence with an underlying belief system). Or plain intellectual dishonesty? Has it gotta be all or nothing!Perhaps Instead of defining religiosity as belief in a god- how about the inverse?- the existence of hell? (except for the hell on earth religions create). But remove the fear of a hell, etc, and perhaps a lot of what is wrong with religion (controlling people and preserving bad governments,etc) may just fall apart.

    November 12

    • John

      Yes, futile indeed... In fact I'm not sure even where the definition of a religion ends and a political system begins. I suppose its a continuum of the extent a religious set of beliefs are exploited by governments and political parties for political ends. In the cases we heard on Friday night, the political ends clearly included the survival of governments and power groups by literally killing opposition. The argument of Islam being a religion?- in the above contexts it looks closer to a cult and political system...

      November 13

    • John

      However Alex, I think sometimes one needs to make some assumptions and generalisations as philosophically nothing is absolutely objective. As for me identifying as an atheist- I generally do so in not accepting 'faith' and dogma. I require evidence and logic and consistency. The question for example of whether I believe in 'god'. One needs to define specifically what is 'god'. To me, it means -did a higher being pre- exist and cause the 'big bang' Our whatever started the universe, or is 'god' a product of the big bang? (in that case perhaps a 'god' does indeed exist- perhaps as an alien. Perhaps Eric von Daniken was onto something...). However I regard these questions as relevant to 'religiosity',­ as they are about existence and are not mixed up in political and social power and control objectives...

      November 13

  • John

    Sorry if my comments below seem a bit incoherent- had to cut down to 1000 characters. My question last night- Do/ How can people living under such brutal islamic regimes and/ or intelligent people believe in the absurd claims of many religions- esp Islam?? If 'they' believe in a god and a devil, then for intellectual consistency and honesty they must also believe the earth is 6000 years old and ALL science to the conrtary must be wrong. It must be believe it ALL or believe NOTHING

    November 12

    • John

      Yes, that is called 'group think'. And perhaps seemingly logical and educated people continue to believe in a god (perhaps beliefs of a vindictive one) simply out of fear- that when the die, what if god and hell and the rest are real. A type of 'insurance' thinking?- that they retain this belief (which does not appear to entail any cost), as a form of protection, just in case...

      November 13

    • John

      ... I think that is where a lot of the problems and power or religions lie- in fear and this threat of hell or punishment from a god if you misbehave on earth. Perhaps this element of religion (at least) needs to be eradicated. Believe in a gracious and good god, fine. But remove hell, the devil, etc and perhaps a lot of the controlling nature of religion will evaporate (except perhaps the notion of confession- that you can lie, cheat, be an asshole all week then simply fess up to some silly man in a dress in a booth and your conscience is wiped clean!...

      November 13

  • Dale

    This was my first time to a Sydney Atheists meeting and I found the speakers incredibly moving. I sometimes wear a badge saying 'I am a Satanist' or something like that just to troll fundamentalists. For me it is a bit of immaturity, perhaps, but for others (like one of the speakers) it is literally a matter of life or death. Very humbling.

    November 12

  • Michael B.

    Excellent presentation and a real eye opener to the dangers people face due to none belief

    November 12

  • Helen M F.

    Struggle to understand the accents of the speakers, but very rewarding.

    November 12

  • Steve M.

    A very big thank you to Shakil and Shubhajit who gave us an excellent insight into a country that few really knew about. Very informative but at the same time sobering and sad.

    1 · November 12

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