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Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > Bangladesh: How many more atheists will be murdered by Islamists?

Bangladesh: How many more atheists will be murdered by Islamists?

Tuesday 31 March 2015, by siawi3


Dhaka Tribune - March 30, 2015
Radical Islamists strike again
Mohammad Jamil Khan, Abid Azad
Two members of third gender catch killers of blogger Oyasiqur
Radical Islamists hacked to death secular blogger Md Oyasiqur Rahman Babu yesterday morning in Tejgaon, Dhaka allegedly for his atheist views.
A travel agency executive, Oyasiqur’s murder was premeditated. Three assailants swooped on Oyasiqur, 27, armed with machetes around 9am on Dipika Mosque Lane of Begunbari, close to Tejgaon Textile Engineering University, when he was going to office in Motijheel.
While fleeing, two of the killers – Zikrullah, a student of Hefazat-e-Islam’s Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong, and Ariful, student of Mirpur Darul Uloom Madrasa – were held by two hermaphrodites as locals remained reluctant to chase the killers. The other member of the team, Abu Taher, escaped.
The duo was handed over to police, who later recovered the machetes from the crime scene, Tejgaon industrial police OC Salauddin said.
The incident took place only a month after secular blogger and former Buet teacher Avijit Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya came under attack by extremists. Avijit succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. Police are yet to solve the case but claim that the killers might be linked to the banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and Ansarullah Bangla Team.
Deputy Commissioner of Tejgaon zone Biplab Kumar Sarker told reporters that in preliminary interrogation the arrestees said they had killed Oyasiqur for writing on religious issues. “We are investigating whether they are involved with any organisation.â€
Known as Oyasiqur Babu on Facebook where he had more than 2,600 friends, the blogger used to write under pseudonyms on popular blogs. On his Facebook account, Oyasiqur wrote several notes opposing irrational religious beliefs, superstitions and radical Islamists.
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Editorial in Dhaka Tribune - 31 March 2015
Oyasiqur’s murder was preventable
Tribune Editorial
It is not enough to act after murders have been carried out. Act to end impunity for incitement and protect citizens
The brutal hacking to death of blogger and writer Oyasiqur Rahman in Tejgaon on Monday morning cannot be treated as an isolated incident.
In its nature and apparent motivation, it has clear similarities with the murder of Shahbagh activist Rajeeb Haider two years ago and comes just weeks after the deadly attack on Avijit Roy.
The government has to do more to live up to its duty to protect all citizens. Authorities must not delay in fully investigating the background to Oyasiqur’s murder and identifying connections with other attacks.
In the last 10 years, over 15 academics and writers have been murdered in similar circumstances after personal death threats were made against them for their views on religion and related matters.
It is long overdue for the government to learn the lesson that it is not enough to act after murders have been carried out. More needs to be done to prevent such attacks by ensuring protection for people and groups who have been threatened and fully progressing cases against those who carry out violence.
The government needs to ensure full follow-up enquiries against any persons who issued threats against Oyasiqur.
It must also end impunity for people and groups who praise, threaten, or incite deadly violence by taking firm steps against anyone who issues death threats. Failure to do so is unacceptable as it only emboldens individuals who are minded to carry out such acts. The government must overcome past failings and act on its responsibility to protect citizens.
— See more at:
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Imran: Government’s indifference behind murder of secular writers
Arif Ahmed
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The New York Times - March 30, 2015
Bangladesh Killings Send Chilling Message to Secular Bloggers
by Ellen Barry
DHAKA, Bangladesh — When the steamy, clamorous evening had settled over this city, and Oyasiqur Rhaman had finished his day’s work at a travel agency, he would turn to one of his favorite pastimes: Poking fun at fundamentalist Islam.
Mr. Rhaman, 27, blogged under the name Kutshit Hasher Chhana, or The Ugly Duckling, and he specialized in sharp-edged satire. In one post, he adopted the persona of a self-important believer fielding questions from an atheist. (An example: “See, the captive women, impressed at the heroism of the Muslim fighters, used to engage in sex with them willingly. Don’t you see that it gave pleasures to them as well?†) He posted photos of sausages wrapped in pastries, labeled “pigs in a burqa.â€
On Monday morning, after he left home for the travel agency, Mr. Rhaman was killed for what he had posted. Three young men — among them students of madrasas here in the capital and in Chittagong — surrounded him and sliced at his head with machetes, cutting deep gouges into his forehead, face and throat. His body was left on the pavement in a pool of congealing blood.
Two men were captured by local residents and handed over to the police, according to Mohammad Salahuddin, who heads the district police station. Those men said an acquaintance known as Masum had instructed them to kill Mr. Rhaman because “he made some comments against Islam†on social media, but that they had not read the comments themselves.
The killing closely followed the pattern of another five weeks earlier, when young men with machetes surrounded a secular blogger and author, Avijit Roy, as he left a book fair.
Mr. Rhaman took Mr. Roy’s murder to heart, changing his Facebook profile image to read “I am Avijit.†Over the next few days, he also mourned the 2013 killing of another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, known online as Thaba Baba, and vowed to keep fighting.
“The pen will remain active, will continue till the death of your belief,†he wrote. “Get Islam destroyed, get Islam destroyed, get Islam destroyed.â€
A writer using the name Biswaoy Balok, or Amazing Boy, responded in the comments section: “Son of a dog, you will also be killed.â€
The deaths of Mr. Roy and Mr. Rahman this month have sent a chilling message to the country’s secular bloggers, who say they are competing for the hearts and minds of young people exposed to oceans of material promoting conservative Islam.
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The Guardian - 30 March 2015
Bangladesh blogger becomes second to be murdered in a month
by Jason Burke in Delhi and Saad Hammadi in Dhaka
Washiqur Rahman’s murder is latest attack on progressive activists following similar killing of American atheist blogger in February
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The Independent (UK) 30 March 2015
Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left
by Rory Fenton
I’ve spoken to liberal bloggers in Dhaka and they’re terrified of what might happen to them
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Statement by Reporters Without Borders

Government’s failure to protect bloggers condemned
Published on Monday 30 March 2015.
Washiqur Rahman, a 27-year-old blogger, was hacked to death with machetes today by three men in Tejgaon, an industrial district of Dhaka. Police arrested two of the men but the third got away.
Police told local media that Rahman’s blog posts were the motive for the attack but did not mention any in particular.
“We are appalled by this latest barbaric act and the additional threat it represents for freedom of expression and information, which is already endangered by the almost daily violence to which bloggers and journalists are exposed in Bangladesh,†said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk.
“We offer our condolences to Rahman’s family and friends, we condemn the government’s failure to protect bloggers, especially those who cover or comment on religion, fundamental freedoms and extremism of all kinds, and we again urge the prime minister to combat this growing violence or else all non-religious thinkers will flee and strict self-censorship will dominate all public debate in Bangladesh.â€
When unidentified individuals slew writer and blogger Avijit Roy and badly injured his wife, Rafida Ahmed Banna, in Dhaka on 26 February, Reporters Without Borders condemned the inadequacy of the resources deployed to bring the perpetrators and instigators of crimes against journalists and bloggers to justice.
Reporters Without Borders also urged the authorities to allocate resources to protect bloggers who are the targets of online threats by radical religious groups and bloggers known for their commitment to freedom of expression.
Rahman is the third blogger to be killed since the start of 2013 in Bangladesh, which is ranked 146th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
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Alert at Committee to Protect Journalists
Second Blogger Hacked to Death in Bangladesh

March 30, 2015, New York—Bangladeshi authorities should investigate the murder of a blogger in the capital, Dhaka, and hold the perpetrators to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Washiqur Rahman Babu is the second blogger to be hacked to death in public in Bangladesh in the past five weeks.
“The Bangladeshi government must urgently establish accountability in this murder case and others—otherwise the rest of the country’s bloggers, commentators, and journalists covering sensitive topics remain at grave risk of being attacked as well,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. “We call on Bangladeshi authorities to ensure a thorough, effective, and timely investigation into the killing of Washiqur Rahman Babu.”
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Post on Amnesty International USA Site
Bangladesh: Horrifying murder of blogger must be a wake-up call
March 30, 2015
The horrifying murder of a blogger who was hacked to death in Dhaka this morning, the second violent killing of a Bangladeshi blogger in a month, must be a “wake up call†to the authorities on the need to create a safe environment for journalists and activists to express their views, said Amnesty International.
Washiqur Rahman was killed near his home in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. Two men have been arrested near the scene. Police has said the blogger was attacked for his alleged “anti-Islamic†writings.
His murder comes a month after US-based writer and atheist blogger Avijit Roy was killed with a machete while visiting the Bangladeshi capital. He had previously received threats for his atheist views. Police have arrested one suspect.
“The despicable murder of Avijit Roy last month should have led authorities to step up protection measures for bloggers and others at risk. The killing of Washiqur Rahman today is another clear example of the Bangladeshi government’s utter failure to ensure the safety of those at risk. How many more bloggers will have to be attacked before action is taken?†said Abbas Faiz, Bangladesh Researcher at Amnesty International.
“Authorities must immediately and thoroughly investigate both killings, ensure those suspected of committing the crimes are brought to justice and ensure meaningful protection for journalists and bloggers at risk of attack.
“Perpetrators must see that they will not get away with these heinous acts and must be brought to justice. The lack of prosecutions on these types of cases, even after investigations are carried out, sends a message that these barbaric actions are tolerated.
“The message must be crystal clear: freedom of thought and expression are basic human rights which must be fully respected by all.â€