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Earlier this month, I posted about Raihan Abir, a Bangladeshi activist and the co-author of a book about atheism with Avijit Roy. Roy was murdered in February of 2015 for his atheism.

Abir, on the other hand, managed to escape to Toronto before Muslim extremists could get to him. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever see his pregnant wife again, but they later reunited in Canada.


I’m happy to say that Abir will receive the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize (worth $1,000) next month — it’s an award which is given to someone “who has shown courage in opposing restraint on freedom of expression and ideas.”

Despite continuing death threats Abir has continued to speak out against religious fundamentalism and seek justice for his murdered friends and colleagues. Abir has given a voice to the victims of religious violence and blasphemy legislation, speaking openly with Canadian media and consulting with government officials.

“With a list of really good candidates, the committee’s deliberations were nevertheless brief and our choice of Raihan was unanimous,” said Canadian Issues Chair, Elise Moser. “He has demonstrated tremendous courage and integrity in defense of freedom of expression.”

It’s a well-deserved honor for someone who has gone through so much for daring to challenge religious beliefs and continues to be a voice of reason today.

(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Blair for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.