Extremist killing of atheist bloggers stirs panic in Bangladesh

Aug 24, 2015

Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

By Nathan VanderKlippe

The day he was hacked to death with a butcher’s blade, Niloy Chatterjee slept in. Muslims in Bangladesh were preparing for Friday morning prayers but Mr. Chatterjee, an outspoken atheist, had no such demands on his time. He rose at 11 a.m. and walked to a nearby vegetable market while his wife of two years, Asa Moni, scrubbed pots at home.

He returned with potatoes and salt, sweaty from the humidity that drenches Dhaka in the final weeks of the rainy season. He showered, then sat down on his bed with his laptop.

Moments later, he was dead.

A mild-mannered philosopher, his apartment was crowded with hundreds of books, including the Koran, the Bible and treatises on theology. Home was his library and his pulpit, where he could think, write and dissect what he saw as the frailties of religion. “He wanted people to break free of their religious rigidity,” Ms. Asa Moni, 27, told The Globe and Mail in her first interview after the killing, which she witnessed. “There is so much unrest and war in the name of religion, and that’s making the world not a peaceful place.”

But the critiques Mr. Chatterjee, 40, published online stirred fury among some Muslims, and his death in early August marked the fourth killing of an atheist blogger this year in a country facing a new threat from a wave of vicious extremism.

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3 comments on “Extremist killing of atheist bloggers stirs panic in Bangladesh

  • Appreciate the sentiment Roedy, but wouldn’t this mean that the fundamentalist barbarians win?

    Dissenting voices should and must be heard. We need to find a safe way to facilitate this.

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  • The UK is now taking action against some of the slightly less extreme forms of extremism!


    Schools ban for Trojan Horse governor

    The former chairman of the Birmingham education trust at the centre of the “Trojan Horse” inquiry has been banned from any involvement in schools.

    Tahir Alam was banned under new powers after the Secretary of State considered evidence in a government inquiry, the Department for Education said.

    “Extremism has no place in our schools,” a spokeswoman said.

    Mr Alam, the former head of governors for Park View Education Trust, denies any wrongdoing and will appeal.

    It was alleged last year extremists had tried to take over several schools in Birmingham to advance radical interpretations of Islam. A series of official investigations found the claims to be groundless.

    However, the government inquiry led by former counter-terrorism chief Peter Clarke found “sustained action carried out by a number of associated individuals to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into a few schools in Birmingham”.

    Under the ban, Mr Alam is prohibited from holding governor roles in all independent schools, academies, free schools, and maintained schools.

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