These Bangladeshi bloggers were murdered by Islamist extremists. Here are some of their writings

May 3, 2016

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The latest grisly murder took place this week in Dhaka. Multiple assailants made there way into an apartment building and hacked to death Xulhaz Mannan, a gay rights activist, and Tonoy Majumder. According to reports, the attackers shouted “Allahu Akbar” before leaving the scene. A group affiliated with al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the incident.

Just two days before, a professor of English in the city of Rajshahi was stabbed in the neck by a student. A notice from the Islamic State’s online media agency hailed the killing, saying it was the result of the academic’s “calling to atheism.” Authorities expressed doubts that transnational terror groups had a direct role in any of these murders, but it’s now undeniable that Bangladesh is in the grips of a shocking and almost systematic purge of outspoken secularists by self-appointed Islamist vigilantes.

In 2015, five secular bloggers were killed in separate attacks. Each incident sparked headlines and outrage, but the grim toll has continued into this year. Ever since a hit list of secularists was published in 2013, fringe Islamist groups have made it known that bloggers and secular activists who speak out against religion or in favor of atheism will be under threat. This has been compounded by the inability of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to rein in extremist violence in a country with a long history of extrajudicial murder and impunity.

“The first mistake by Ms Hasina’s government was to yield to hardline Muslim views on the supposed horrors of atheism or homosexuality instead of standing up for pluralism and secularism,” writes Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet. “The second was the sustained assault by security forces and the judiciary on government opponents, including editors and liberal and Islamist politicians.” He adds: “The truth is that the government faces a challenging task in fighting terrorists, who are usually local radicals impressed by international brands such as [the Islamic State], but is making the job still harder by persecuting its legitimate opponents and driving them underground.”

Caught in the dragnet are an increasingly embattled set of activists, scientists, free-thinkers, Hindus and humanists, endangered by Islamist enmities and not sufficiently protected by a state that has distanced itself from the cause of vocal atheists. Below are just a few extracts of what some of the slain bloggers wrote. (A far greater collection of posts and essays in Bengali can be found through links in these websites.)


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10 comments on “These Bangladeshi bloggers were murdered by Islamist extremists. Here are some of their writings

  • These events are so disturbing. Hacked to death in a public market place. The professor only taught English. What can you or I do to stop it? You can really only do one thing. You can join Amnesty International and sign up to every online petition.

    How do we confront Islamic fundamentalism? It is 99% Christian with one little twist, Mohamed is the last prophet. You cannot eliminate them with air-strikes. They welcome them. They just dive into their underground tunnels and laugh at our expenditure. They sell the message that the west is bombing Muslims and increase their recruitment.

    Our message has to be that we have junked Christianity and it is time for them to junk Islam. They gave us the Islamic Golden Age of 500 years. They translated and preserved the Greek knowledge. They led the world for 500 years. But in 610 AD when Islam was invented they were already 1,000 years behind best thinking and best practice (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). And since 1,100 AD, following the Golden Age, they have contributed nothing to man’s knowledge of facts and values. To put it another way, one Cambridge college has gained more Nobel Prizes than the entire Islamic world, one fifth of the world’s population.



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  • 2
    ImranAliPhD says:

    @David: I agree with every word you said. However, I often wonder why do people compare the Nobel Prizes of Cambridge University alone (or Jews alone or one Zip code of Massachusetts alone) with Muslims? I bet Cambridge Beats 1.3 billions Indians in Nobel Prizes too or 1.1 billion Africans or 1.4 billion Chinese for that matter. (FYI, 1.3 non-Indian Muslims have 13 Nobles and 1.3 Indians have 8 Nobles.) Muslims come from vastly diverse backgrounds. We might as well compare Nobel Prizes of Cambridge University with all those people who think apples are delicious, after all liking apples is an idea and Islam is set of ideas, no?



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  • Hi Imran,

    When people use the exalted Nobel prize as a measuring stick this shows the high value we in the West put on that prize. But I think I agree with you that even though the numbers are the truth of the matter, it comes off as just plain meanness.

    I am proud of the achievements of our Universities, and incidentally, those Massachusetts zip codes that contribute to achievement of the Nobel are only a few miles away from me right now. It’s not a bad thing to be proud of achievements so I don’t mind if people crow about awards. I noticed that you have the letters indicating a PhD after your name there and if you’ve gone that far in your education then you should be proud of that.

    I think what I would like to do though, and perhaps you would go along with this, is to point out that pride in accomplishment doesn’t give us the right to scoff at those who, for very good reason, didn’t make it as far as we did. This holds for an individual level and on a national level too.

    If I may speak for the North African Maghreb countries, although I’m not a native of that region (only married into it) There is no shortage of IQ points in those countries. But they have had a difficult history that has dragged their education system down to an inadequate disaster. After years of brutal colonialism under the French, then a well known brutal revolutionary war to evict them, a post-revolutionary brain drain left them stripped of their intellectual class as the French pulled out and left the Algerians to run the place with a population that had been shut out of the education system for a hundred years.

    Although the French left some secular structure in that region that gave me hope in the early eighties when I lived there, it was all for nothing when the Muslim Brotherhood gained influence in the region. As a response to colonialism there, the Brotherhood inspired an “Arabization” program to wipe out the remnants of this colonial poison, as they saw it then.

    Selfish corrupt dictatorship and fundamentalist Muslim aggression resulted in a horrific civil war that lasted the whole decade of the nineties and into the next decade as well. These people just can’t get a break. They’ve spent a century just trying to stay alive. The education system is just not their priority when they’re trying to stay alive.

    An American friend of mine who lives in Tunisia told me once that while the American education system tries its best to keep kids in school, the North African system tries to kick kids out. They have national tests periodically in that system that result in a certain large percentage of kids, even primary school kids, getting kicked out to spend their lives in poverty or for the girls, as ignorant household workers and baby production servants.

    I tell this story because I have to think that it represents the problems of many third world countries. In fact, Algeria and the other North African states are a better place to live than many other places in this world. But this is what I think of when I hear that statement about the lack of Nobel prizes coming out of the “Arab/Muslim” world as compared to the glorious high number of those prizes coming out of our best Universities here in the West.

    I’m proud of those Nobels. Science is our best hope for a better life. I’m proud to have a University degree in science and I worked hard to achieve that. But I also realize the privilege that I come from that made that accomplishment possible. A little luck with the DNA that came my way, a peachy trust fund from a doting Uncle and a country that sees fit to educate it’s people, including its girls thanks to the sacrifices and devotion of feminists that came before me!

    My poor (literally and figuratively) Algerian nieces and nephews have the none of the privilege I had. They have the IQ to do the job but the environment is a complete disaster. This extends out through the whole of North Africa and also through the Middle East as well. This is why I want people to stop throwing that Nobel prize number in their faces. It’s nonproductive. We can do better than that.



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  • 4
    Pinball1970 says:

    @ImranAliPhD “I often wonder why do people compare the Nobel Prizes of Cambridge University alone (or Jews alone or one Zip code of Massachusetts alone) with Muslims? I bet Cambridge Beats 1.3 billions Indians in Nobel Prizes too or 1.1 billion Africans or 1.4 billion Chinese for that matter.”

    Perhaps people are looking muslims as a large group and see what progress they are making, something we are missing perhaps

    Also the Chinese Indians/Hindus and Africans on the whole as a group do not have large swatches of peoples who want to destroy western civilization and replace it 7thC thinking religion ideology.

    Comparison with the jews is a good one, why?

    Muslims are constantly telling us in the UK at least the worst atrocities in the middle east is being caused by the only democracy there, the state of Israel.

    Muslim rhetoric in the UK regarding jews is not good.

    Being jewish is a complex matter judging from things I have discussed with them, an Israeli, a Zionist ,a secular jew all have different connotations- thats another discussion

    The Nobel prize is good leveller however, it is not concerned with country or religion.

    The jews have won a staggering amount in all areas including science, 25% of physics for instance! Why? Do you not think that is an interesting question?

    0.2% of the world population that acquires 25% of physics awards, whereas only 3 in total have been acquired by muslims which 25% of the global population

    That is a non trivial result, worth looking into.

    Perhaps mindless 7thC tribalism is not the way to enlightenment



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  • 6
    Pinball1970 says:

    @cbrown
    I have no idea, on surface she helped the poor and was a good person, look deeper and she was a confused tortured woman who seem to be a fan of suffering rather than helping.

    Sometimes they get it right, Médecins Sans Frontières, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai.

    Some winners look questionable to say the least
    Nobel was clear what he wanted and he left instructions in his will
    “champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”



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  • To Pinball #6:

    I have no idea, on surface she helped the poor and was a good person,
    look deeper and she was a confused tortured woman who seem to be a fan
    of suffering rather than helping.

    That is sort of what I was thinking about the Roman Catholic Church. The more there are of masses of poor and suffering, the greater power the RCC has in their “moral authority.” Just another reason to oppose contraception.



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  • 8
    Pinball1970 says:

    @cbrown The more there are of masses of poor and suffering, the greater power the RCC has in their “moral authority.” Just another reason to oppose contraception.

    At least the RCC is losing numbers in the UK, in church numbers at least.
    Christianity as a whole is losing ground as the older generation is dying out.



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  • @OP – “The first mistake by Ms Hasina’s government was to yield to hardline Muslim views on the supposed horrors of atheism or homosexuality instead of standing up for pluralism and secularism,” writes Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet. “The second was the sustained assault by security forces and the judiciary on government opponents, including editors and liberal and Islamist politicians.” He adds: “The truth is that the government faces a challenging task in fighting terrorists, who are usually local radicals impressed by international brands such as [the Islamic State], but is making the job still harder by persecuting its legitimate opponents and driving them underground.”

    There is a similar political problem with theocratic politicians elsewhere.

    Doctors and staff at abortion clinics are murdered by Xtian fanatics, while their local politicians support the dogmas of the fanatics, to the detriment of medical services, and priests preach “forgiveness of sinners”, whose hearts are really in the right (dogmatic) place!



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  • @OP – These Bangladeshi bloggers were murdered by Islamist extremists.

    The killing by deluded fanatics goes on!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36292457

    Police in Bangladesh say a 75-year-old Buddhist monk has been hacked to death in the south-eastern district of Bandarban.

    An official said the monk’s body was found inside a Buddhist temple.

    It is the latest in a spate of murders of religious minorities, secular activists and academics.

    More than 20 people have been killed by suspected Islamists in the last three years.



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