Secular publisher hacked to death in Bangladesh

Nov 3, 2015

A publisher of a slain online critic of religious militancy was hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital, police said, hours after similar attacks wounded two secular writers and another publisher.

Faysal Arefin, who was killed on Saturday in Dhaka, published books by Avijit Roy, a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin who was murdered in the same way in February.

The body of Arefin, the 43-year-old chief of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, was found inside his office.

The perpetrators had locked the office before carrying out the attack, police said.

Arefin’s father, Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq, a noted intellectual and writer, said: “I rushed to his office at Aziz Market and broke the padlock, and I saw him lying upside down in a massive pool of blood. They slaughtered his neck. He is dead.”

Jamaluddin Mir, a police officer, told Al Jazeera that at least seven other people were trapped inside the office when the attack was carried out.

“The criminals introduced themselves as customers who were buying books and entered the publishing house,” he said, adding that an investigation to identify the attackers was under way.

Abbas Faiz, Bangladesh Researcher at Amnesty International, said: “The situation is becoming increasingly dangerous for those brave enough to speak their own minds. The latest heinous criminal attacks are a deliberate assault against freedom of expression in the country.

“Given the horrific pattern of violence, we have reason to believe many other lives are now at risk.”

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16 comments on “Secular publisher hacked to death in Bangladesh

  • The term Islamophobia is surely dead now?

    Unlike Scott Atran’s efforts to see 9/11 as a political act, this is nakedly ideological utterly free and utterly clear. This is an ideology stripped of all its mollifying humanity and decency.

    Ideologies utterly absorbed in their own survival…at any cost…have blighted us before and been brought low.

    Decent Muslims must take control of this thing now. We urgently need them to see our anger at their faith run wild in the hands of others. We urgently need their co-operation and understanding and failing that their simple obligation to help. Those shouting us off with cries of Islamophobe have a moral screw loose.

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  • 4
    Cairsley says:

    Stafford, I guess it is madness, but this kind of faith-driven murderousness strikes me as being a palpable form of evil. After all that the Bangladeshis have been through since independence from India and then from Pakistan, it is sad to see this religious terrorism closing down free thought and expression there to remove any threat to the sway held by the so-called Relgion of Peace over the people.

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  • Cairsley
    Nov 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

    After all that the Bangladeshis have been through since independence from India and then from Pakistan, it is sad to see this religious terrorism closing down free thought and expression there

    We should remember that is was the inability of differing religious groups to co-exist peacefully, which led to the political divides in the first place.

    The example of a Muslim man killed by a Hindu lynch mob for allegedly eating beef – which turned out to be mutton – illustrates that this delusion based terrorism is not specific to one religion.
    man in northern India was killed in a mob lynching on Monday night allegedly over rumours that his family had been storing and consuming beef

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  • With the new Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi in India, this kind of savagery is likely to escalate there too.

    Like the vast majority of citizens in Nazi Germany, the rank and file Muslim is trapped; are they silent because their faith takes precedence over everything else, or because they are intimidated into silence by the fear of reprisals? Or, are they simply too ashamed or embarrassed to speak out?

    Mohammed Ali – “The Greatest” – said, and I probably misquote him, they’ve hijacked my religion.

    The Barbarians are at the gates, and if our elected representatives don’t soon wake up to the fact, the hordes will soon be inside the citadel.

    We need to go through IS like crap through a goose!

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  • 10
    Pinball1970 says:

    The term Islamophobia is surely dead now?<

    Not in the UK Phil,

    The same apologists come out in force with calls of racism, and “no true muslim..” every time there is an encroachment on human decency or another life is lost to this religion.

    Charlie Hebdo, Tunisia, Rochdale Abuses, Oldham Abuses, Oxford abuses, operation Trojan horse, 60,000 girls at risk from FGM in the UK…

    That’s an African problem, blown out of proportion, the work of mad men, but its It is the cleanest way to kill an animal, we have lots of Christian pedophiles too you know, this is victimization! this is hate crime!


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  • To demonstrate that Islamophobia is a meaningless idea we need to demonstrate that a pure, politics-free, social/cultural free version of an ideology was capable of causing harm and of itself in need of robust criticism.

    We must take care when we roll in say cultural practices that do not map simply on to an ideology who and what and how we criticise.

    Here we can cleanly criticise an ideology without its cultural mitigations and before its further cultural harms.

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  • It is only dead to those who really know what it can mean. The dunderheads are still dangerous.

    I have had to become a Facebook user (reluctantly) because of my political activities and am angered every day with how many times allah is asked to watch over something/one or is praised for something in the Turkish community. The recent elections have brought out both sets of muslims. Secular and devout. Both claim muslim status but are separated by politics. How do you say Islam is bad and hope to keep the secular on board? If you are seen as islamaphobic by them both then aren’t you? It is a simple choice for me to say that all religion is bad as an atheist. No conflict, but when I pick and choose then I am afraid I am confused. Of course secular is a simple choice as well but that can only be made cleanly by the religious themselves. An atheist saying, “you can practice your sordid religion in private in a secular society”, sounds very confusing to a religious person and would instantly label you an islamaphobe. Right now I am playing it cool as an atheist and going for secular. I can’t think how else to do it and actually achieve anything worthwhile.

    (Thats not me BTW)

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  • Islamophobia was always an incoherent word. Ideology is criticisable in simple practical ways that a culture cannot be.

    Islamophobia is at last demonstrated to be an incoherent term by this inexcusable but simple expression of an ideology.

    Few will notice. Fewer will understand. But it gives me a grim satisfaction.

    You don’t have to say Islam is bad. Indeed you have to appeal to its goodness to stop this demented butchery. Ordinary Muslims have to step up to the plate and declare for the moral. I thought once we shoudn’t pester people who simply wanted to keep their head down, ignore the issue and become good Muslim mothers and doctors. But we need them, as many as possible to help Islam make its transition into a reformed religion. Only moderate religion can put the brakes on. This idea needs to be put again and again until some start to think it might even be possible.

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  • Turkey is one country that can still have its secularists speak up, to a point, but how long for I am not sure. An aggressive leader who said his victory, in the elections, was a win for Islam, might start pushing his weight even more. Those that voted for him who might have second thoughts might just be too late? I am hoping that economic success will hold it off. Another civil war in the region is not the way to go.

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