Bangladesh Needs to Sort Out Its Rampant Machete Attack Problem

May 3, 2016

By Ranbir Singh Sidhu

After a lull of several months, machete killings of writers, editors, and academics have returned to Bangladesh. On Monday, 35-year-old Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine, Roopbaan, was hacked to death in his apartment in the upscale Kalabangan neighborhood of the capital city, Dhaka. The reported five or six attackers gained entry into the apartment by posing as couriers. Mannan worked at USAID and launched the magazine in 2014 to promote LGBT rights and visibility in the predominantly Islamic nation, where homosexuality remains a criminal offense.

A friend of Mannan’s, an openly gay activist and local actor, Tanay Majumder, or “Tonoy” to friends, was also killed in the attack. In 2014, the two men organized the country’s first “Rainbow Rally” to fight for LBGT rights and acceptance, though this year the event was canceled on orders from police, who cited security concerns.

Hardline Islamists continue to feel emboldened in Bangladesh, where the ruling party, though nominally secular, actively courts fringe religious elements to bolster its electoral support. The attack comes only two days after the murder of Rezaul Karim Siddique, a 58-year-old English professor who was hacked to death by men carrying machetes as he walked home from the bus station in the provincial city of Rajshahi. ISIS claimed responsibility for Siddique’s death, accusing him of atheism. His daughter strongly disputed the charge, and she said she had no idea why he was targeted, as he was not an outspoken secularist, either in print or on social media.

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3 comments on “Bangladesh Needs to Sort Out Its Rampant Machete Attack Problem

  • In Canada in the 1970s, there were all kinds of threats of this sort of thing, but nobody got up the energy to carry through.

    It is important to have a public trial to send the message that murdering people for religious reasons is not the height of virtue. Such people are shocked to learn not everyone agrees with them.

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  • 2
    Pinball1970 says:

    OP “ISIS claimed responsibility for Siddique’s death, accusing him of atheism”

    Imagine being “accused” of atheism?

    It beggers belief.

    It is the sort of language used during the witch hunter trials in the 17th C.

    What is the British high commission in Dhaka doing?
    A statement from then UK government web states,

    “We work with Bangladesh as forces for good in the world and for our mutual prosperity and security, and to make Britain the partner of choice for Bangladesh.”

    Perhaps we should stop sending any more aid from the UK (taken from my hard earned taxes) until we get some firm guarantees that the Bangladeshi people realise hacking people to death is not “forces for good”

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  • It seems the mad delusional assassins are widening the scope of their attacks!

    A Sufi Muslim leader has been hacked to death near the north Bangladeshi town of Rajshahi in what police say may be another attack by Islamic extremists.

    The body of Mohammad Shahidullah, 65, was found by villagers in a pool of blood in a mango grove, police say.

    His murder comes amid rising concern over the rise in violence against religious minorities.

    A wide range of people have been attacked in recent years including secularists, bloggers and academics.

    Among more than 20 people killed by Islamic militant groups are members of religious minorities, although this is believed to be the first attack on a Sufi Muslim.

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