Photo credit: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Barcro via Getty Images
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) solemnly marks the one-year anniversary on February 26 of the brutal murder of Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American secular blogger. Attackers wielding machetes killed Roy after he left a book fair during a visit to Dhaka. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, survived the attack with serious wounds.
“USCIRF extends its deepest condolences to the family of Avijit Roy, and calls on the Bangladeshi government to redouble its efforts to investigate this heinous crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. The government also must take concrete steps to ensure the safety of others who are exercising their rights to freedom of expression and religion or belief,” said USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George.
In addition to Roy, four bloggers and publishers have been murdered this past year including: Washiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das, Niloy Chatterjee, and Faisal Arefin Dipan. Labeled as apostates and blasphemers, the bloggers were targeted by extremists because of their advocacy of secularism, freedom of thought, religious and communal tolerance, and political transparency and accountability. A “hit-list” of other bloggers marked for assassination is freely available on the Internet. It includes the names of people associated with translating and disseminating the bloggers’ work.
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