Stories of secular bloggers losing their lives to militant Islamic extremists are becoming a regularity, particularly in Bangladesh. This week has brought another horrifying story of a Bangladesh blogger who was hacked to death by masked men wielding machetes on Tuesday morning.
According to the BBC, police claim the attack occurred in Sylhet, Bangladesh, marking the third murder of a secular blogger this year alone. The Bangladesh blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, regularly criticized Islam on the blog Mukto-Mona. The site was run by another Bangladesh blogger, Avijit Roy, another atheist who was hacked to death in February.
The Bangladesh blogger had reportedly received several death threats from Islamic extremists already. He had attempted to travel to Sweden recently to attend an event held by the Swedish Pen writers organization to celebrate freedom of press, but the country turned down his visa request. The organization was about to submit an appeal for the request when the Bangladesh blogger was brutally hacked to death. Swedish Pen is now demanding an explanation from the Swedish government, holding them partially accountable for his death.
According to CNN, witnesses say the Bangladesh blogger was ambushed by four men wearing masks while he was making his way to the bank where he worked. Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Kamrul Ahsan claims the Islamic extremists used both machetes and cleavers to kill Ananta Bijoy Das and then quickly ran away, before witnesses could do anything. Police officials are now interviewing those who were present for the attack.
“It’s one after another after another,” said the leader of the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, Imran Sarker. “It’s the same scenario again and again. It’s very troubling… [Das] was a voice of social resistance; he was an activist. And now, he too has been silenced.”
In addition to the deaths of the Bangladesh blogger, Ananta Das, and the American blogger, Avijit Roy, a 27-year-old named Washiqur Rahman was also hacked to death with knives and meat cleavers outside his house.
All three of the victims were murdered for their secular views and their criticism of the Islamic faith. The Bangladesh blogger, Das, was especially vocal about science and rationalism, also working as the editor for a local science magazine called Jukti(“Reason”), and Roy’s blog awarded him the Rationalist Award for “deep and courageous interest in spreading secular & humanist ideals and messages in a place which is not only remote, but doesn’t have even a handful of rationalists.”
Citizens of Dhaka are now mourning the death of the Bangladesh blogger whose only mistake was voicing his opinion.
[Image credit: BBC]