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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