Two more individuals have been hacked to death by Islamists in Dhaka today. Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of Roopbaan, Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine, and Tanay Fahim, another LGBT activist, were murdered and a third person injured after three men posing as couriers entered Mannan’s apartment and attacked them.
The murders follow on from the death at the weekend of Rezaul Karim Siddique, an English professor at Rajshahi University, who was killed with machetes by Islamic State militants while walking home from work, ostensibly for ‘calling to atheism’. It does not appear that Siddique was in fact an atheist.
The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed its shock at the latest killings, which represent an escalation of violence and a broadening of targets following a spate of similar murders of humanist bloggers. The BHA has called on authorities to urgently take action to prevent further attacks.
The murders started in 2013, when bloggers Ahmed Rajib was murdered in a machete attack in his home, and Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. Both appeared on a list of 84 bloggers produced by Islamists, who demanded they be arrested for blasphemy.
Then in February 2015 Avijit Roy, the founder of the Mukto-Mona (‘Freethinker’) humanist blogging platform, was hacked to death with machetes in the streets of Dhaka, and his wife Bonya Ahmed was gravely injured. In March, Washiqur Rahman was killed within 500 yards from his house in Dhaka by assailants with meat cleavers. In May, Ananta Bijoy Das was killed on his way to work in Sylhet by Islamists with machetes and cleavers. In August, Niloy Neel was brutally murdered in his home.
In November, Islamists attacked two publishing houses with machetes and guns. Roy’s publisher Faysal Arefin Dipon was murdered, while three others were injured. Then in April this year student Nazimuddin Samad, who had made humanist posts on Facebook, was hacked to death in Dhaka while walking home from class.
Commenting on the latest attack, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘These latest killings represent a continued tragedy for Bangladesh, and a broadening of the range of targets that Islamists are pursuing. It is clear from the frequency of the attacks that they are feeling increasingly emboldened to strike with impunity, in the face of a Government and police service that is not doing enough to prevent them.
‘We urge the Bangladeshi Government to do more to prevent a recurrence of such attacks, and the UK Government to do all it can to help. Because while words cannot be killed, individuals can be, and this bloodshed has to stop.’
For further comment or information, please contact BHA Campaigns Manager Richy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7324 3072.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.