Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh

Solidarity and Love to Families and Friends of Victims of Islamist Dhaka Attack.

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Bangladesh has a special place in the hearts of all progressive humanity.

In its fight for freedom the country suffered one of the worst Islamist genocides of the last century.

Our deepest sadness at this outrage.

Dhaka attack: 20 hostages killed Friday night, says ISPR.

Daily Star. (Bangladesh)

As per instruction by the honourable head of the government, Bangladesh Army  conducted Operation Thunderbolt, Brig Gen Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury, director of military operations, told journalists at a press briefing this afternoon.

Joint security force led by army recovered 20 bodies during a search on the compound of the Spanish restaurant, Holey Artisan Bakery after the operation was launched, Brig Gen Nayeem said.

The BBC reports.

Twenty people, all of them foreigners, were killed during an attack by suspected Islamists on a cafe in Bangladesh, officials say.

Gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in Dhaka late on Friday before troops entered almost 12 hours later.

Six of the attackers were also killed and one was arrested, a government spokesman said. The attack was claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The siege began as diners were gathering to break their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“It was an extremely heinous act,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a televised statement. “What kind of Muslims are these people? They don’t have any religion.

“My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper said the gunmen tortured anyone who was unable to recite the Koran. They provided meals overnight for only the Bangladeshi captives, it said.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

July 2, 2016 at 11:07 am

Leading Bangladesh Gay Activist Xulhaz Mannan Hacked to Death as Islamists’ Rampage Continues.

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Murdered Bangladeshi gay activist Xulhaz Mannan (From Paul C).

Homage to the Martyrs!

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The Hindu reports,

Two people were hacked to death Monday at an apartment in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, police said, with a local television channel identifying one of them as a leading gay rights activist.

“Unidentified attackers entered an apartment at Kalabagan and hacked two people to death. Another person was injured,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesperson Maruf Hossain Sorder told AFP.

He did not identify the dead, but private television Channel 24 said one of them was the editor of Roopbaan, the country’s only magazine for the LGBT community.

The BBC  continues.

A leading gay rights activist and editor at Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine has been hacked to death, media reports and officials say.

Another person was also killed and one person injured when attackers entered an apartment in Dhaka, police said.

Julhas Mannan was an editor at LGBT magazine Roopbaan and previously worked at the US embassy, friends said.

The killing comes two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants.

Since February last year suspected militants have killed several secular or atheist writers and members of religious minority groups.

BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan, which had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.

Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.

Meanwhile Bangladesh’s best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday.

Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed “very soon”.

Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in Dhaka.

Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with machetes.

The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.

There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 25, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Secular Critic of Islamism, Nazimuddin Samad, Hacked to Death in Bangladesh.

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Nazimuddin Samad, from his Facebook page

Nazimuddin Samad: Murdered for Criticising Islam. 

The Dhaka Tribune reports.

Student on hitlist killed by militants Mohammad Jamil Khan

Killers were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while hacking the Gonojagoron Moncho activist

A masters student of Jagannath University was killed by suspected Islamist militants in Old Dhaka’s Sutrapur area last night.

Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was a student of the law department’s evening batch.

He was attacked at Ekrampur intersection around 8:30pm by three assailants while walking to his home in Gendaria with another youth after completing classes at the university near Bahadur Shah Park.

The youth accompanying the victim has remained traceless since the incident, police said.

Nazim is the son of Shamshul Haque from Bianibazar area of Sylhet. He was the information and research secretary of Sylhet district unit Bangabandhu Jatiya Jubo Parishad. He was also an activist of Gonojagoron Moncho’s Sylhet wing.

His friends said that Nazim used to campaign for secularism on Facebook and was critical of radical Islamists. A day before the murder, he expressed concerns over the country’s law and order in a Facebook post.

Police said that the killers who came on a motorcycle first intercepted them and then attacked Nazim with machetes. At one point, he fell on the street and then the attackers shot him to confirm death before leaving the place.

Businessmen of the area closed the shops immediately after hearing the gunshots.

During the murder, the killers were chanting “Allahu Akbar,” police said quoting locals.

Visiting the spot, the Dhaka Tribune reporter found the crime scene cordoned by the law enforcers and all the shops closed. Police recovered a bullet shell from the spot.

Nurul Amin, assistant commissioner of Sutrapur division, told the Dhaka Tribune that police went to the spot on information and found the body in a pool of blood. They were confirmed about his identity by the ID found in his pocket. Later, the police informed the university authorities and sent the body to hospital.

Doctors at Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital declared him dead at 9pm.

AC Nurul further said that it is clear that the assailants kept an eye on Nazim’s activities for long and were aware of his way back home. “We are investigating the case sincerely to know the motive of the murder,” he added.

JnU Proctor Nur Mohammad said that Nazim got admitted to the university two months ago. “We have informed his family about the murder and are taking detail information about him,” he said.

Shamir Chandra Sutradhar, inspector (investigation) of Sutrapur police station, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Even though the spot was crowded at the time of the murder, they are not sharing any information with the police.

“However, we are trying to identify the assailants by talking to the shopkeepers and residents of the area.”

Comrade Samad’s background is described here:

Samad, a student of Jagannath University, used to write frequently against religious extremism. He had written “I have no religion” on his Facebook profile under religious views. In some of his recent posts, Samad had supported a petition to remove Islam as Bangladesh’s state religion, according to the New York Times.

“Evolution is a scientific truth. Religion and race are invention of the savage and uncivil people,” he reportedly wrote on Facebook. However, about a month back, Samad deactivated his Facebook account at the request of his family.

According to the Times, Samad’s Facebook page identified him as a member of the Shahbag movement, which seeks punishment for Bangladeshis who fought for Pakistan during the 1971 war for independence.

International Business Times. 

The International Humanist and Ethical Union has published these moving reflections,

Nazimuddin’s writing

Tributes and alarmed messages are flooding in on Nazimuddin’s personal Facebook page, where he regularly posted atheist and feminist criticism of Islam. He was critical both of the Islamist political parties, and against the failings of the current government. Shortly before he was killed, he wrote a post implying that the ruling Awami League party would fall if it did not make swift changes, writing (in Bengali): “The situation of the country, deterioration of law and order in the country, speak that maybe you cannot stay long in power.”

In earlier posts, Nazimuddin responded to a cleric’s violent speech against women which referenced the Quran, contrasting the speech with the claim that “Islam is the highest honor given to women!” He asked for justice for a girl known as Tonu, who had been raped and killed in the military area of ‘Cantoment’, Comilla.

Nazimuddin recently criticised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s support for madrassa (Islamic schools), which are increasingly associated with Islamist radicalism and militancy in the country. Nazimuddin had also shared posts from Washiqur Rahman Babu who was killed last year in a similar attack, carried out by two madrassa students who claimed they were acting on orders from someone associated with their Islamic schools.

In another post, he proposed a satirical strategy to overcome the aggressive push toward Islamism in the country, writing: “Please let’s have Sharia Law for just five years in Bangladesh. Rule the country with Medina Law. I guarantee you, after this 5 years, no Muslim of Bangladesh will ask for Islamic law! The loss and damage we will have after five years, it will take 1400 years to restore us to a modern country.”

Nurul Amin, assistant commissioner of Sutrapur division police, is reported as saying that the assailants must have kept an eye on Nazim’s activities ahead of the attack, and were aware of his route home. “We are investigating the case sincerely to know the motive of the murder,” he said.

Reaction

President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Andrew Copson, commented tonight:

“It is clear from Nazimuddin’s Facebook posts and protest activity that he was a politically and socially engaged young man. He offered criticisms of certain radical religious figures and doctrines, thoughts of a kind that many people, not just atheists and humanists but also many religious people, express all over the world, every day.

“Every time a thoughtful and honest person like Nazimuddin is hacked or gunned down, apparently for doing nothing more than speaking their minds on secularist, political and religious topics, we and others will make a point of finding out what he said, what he did, what he wrote about, and sharing it. It will be seen by more people than ever would have seen it before. And we will remember his name and the growing list of names of those who were singled out and killed, by small-minded, hateful extremists who appear to think that words can be killed. They cannot.”

We mourn deeply this death, and extend love to all Nazimuddin’s family and friends. 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

Top Bangladesh court reviews Islam as state religion.

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Activists protest against the killing of Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Dhaka (12 May 2015)

Bangladesh: Protests at the Deaths of our Beloved Secularist Comrades.

Dhaka

A British newspaper has reported that Muslim-majority Bangladesh might abandon state religion Islam in the wake of attacks by suspected Islamists on the people of other faiths.

The South Asian country adopted Islam as its official religion in 1988 through a constitutional amendment during the regime of military dictator Hossain Muhammad Ershad despite the nation fought its 1971 war of liberation against Pakistan to establish secular values.

The Daily Mail report however did not mention any credible source to establish its claim.

It says Bangladesh’s Supreme Court has begun to hear arguments which challenge Islam’s status as the official state religion.

It comes after a spate of attacks against people of other religions such as Hindus, Christians, and minorities Shiites, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists.

“When Bangladesh was formed in 1971 after the nation split from Pakistan, it was declared a secular state,” said the newspaper.

But this is now being disputed as illegal in the latest court battle and is being supported by religious minority leaders.

Meanwhile the US has also warned that ISIS is stepping up recruitment in Bangladesh, even though the government says the extremist problems are home grown.

One Bangladesh police official told Breitbart: ‘We have made arrests on each and every so-called ISIS-claimed attack.

‘The attackers have confessed their crimes in court. They have also confessed being a Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh member, and denied any linkage with ISIS.’

However an American director of National Intelligence has insisted attacks were the work of terrorist groups.

In a written testimony to the U.S. Senate James Clapper noted the claims of responsibility from ISIS for 11 high profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities, and claims from the Ansarullah Bangla Team and al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent for killing at least 11 progressive writers and bloggers in Bangladesh since 2013.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has been in political ferment since the run-up to January 2014 elections, said the newspaper.

They were boycotted by opposition parties, and over war crimes prosecutions brought against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders over alleged involvement in atrocities during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.

Muslims make up some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, while Hindus account for 8 percent and other religions—including Buddhism and Christianity—make up the rest, according to Daily Mail.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina very often says that people in her country are generally pious and peace loving, they are not extremists.

This appears a more reliable account than the Daily Mail:

Top Bangladesh court reviews Islam as state religion

Religious minorities urge return to secular, less divisive charter

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Feb. 29 began hearing arguments on a writ petition challenging the insertion of Islam as the state religion in the country’s constitution, in a move lauded by minority leaders including a Catholic bishop.

A three-judge bench is presently reviewing the petition to see if Islam as the state religion is in conflict with the country’s constitution. The petition was originally filed by 15 prominent writers, former judges, educationists and cultural activists in 1988.

“Even if it is delayed, the court has decided to start the hearing because it’s a petition on a constitutional issue,” attorney general Mahbubey Alam told reporters in Dhaka on Feb. 29.

They challenged the-then military government’s decision that same year to make Islam the state religion of Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

Drafted in 1972, soon after Bangladesh’s split from Pakistan in 1971, the original constitution declared the country a secular state.

However, military ruler Ziaur Rahman erased secularism from the constitution in 1977 while his successor, H.M. Ershard — another military ruler — made Islam the state religion in 1988.

In 2011, the government led by the center-left Awami League Party, reinstated secularism in principle to the constitution following a Supreme Court ruling in 2009.

However, it kept Islam as the state religion out of fear of losing votes.

Religious minorities have applauded the move to look at the state religion issue.

The court’s decision to review the petition is a matter great hope for religious minorities, said Bishop Bejoy N. D’Cruze of Sylhet, chairman of the Catholic bishops’ Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue Commission.

“When a state officially accepts a state religion, then it puts barricades for communal harmony because it recognizes supremacy of a particular religion and makes other religions inferior,” Bishop D’Cruze told ucanews.com.

Recent extremist attacks on religious minorities are an indirect consequence of the constitutional provision of a state religion, he said.

“We hope and demand that every religion in Bangladesh are put on an equal footing in terms of status and respect,” he added.

By sponsoring Islam as an official religion, the state has created grounds for the persecution of minorities, especially Hindus, says Govinda Chadra Pramanik, secretary of Bangladesh National Hindu Grand Alliance.

“The state religion established the supremacy of Islam over other religions, offering a weapon to radical Islamists to abuse minority communities. Moreover, Islam gets more attention from the state, not other religions, which is an obstacle to interfaith harmony,” he told ucanews.com.

State backing for Islam has slowly developed communalism and contributed to the dwindling Hindu population in Bangladesh, Pramanik added.

“As the state religion, Islam put psychological pressure on minorities, and makes them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The [Supreme] court must come to the right decision and withdraw it,” he added.

Nirmol Rozario, secretary of Bangladesh Christian Association echoed the call.

“Since 1988, we have been opposing Islam as the state religion. Religion is a personal matter and a democratic state can’t have an official religion,” Rozario told ucanews.com.

“This is nothing but an effort to dominate other religions in the country. It must stop.”

About 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population is Muslim, eight percent are Hindus while the rest belong to other religions including Buddhism and Christianity.

Some background:

Bangladesh: Police say local group, not IS, behind the killing of Hindu priest

DHAKA–The murder of yet another priest in Bangladesh last week has raised the question again – who were the killers, a local militant group or Islamic State (IS)?

Police arrested six people suspected to be of the outlawed Islamist organization Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for the murder of  Jogeshwar Dasa Dhikari on February 21.

But the US-based terror monitoring group SITE Intelligence says IS has claimed responsibility for the attack on Sri Sri Shonto Gaurio temple, Shonapota.

On February 26, police conducted an overnight raid at a house in Debiganj and arrested three JMB suspects. They also seized firearms, crude bombs, grenades and other weapons from them.

According to witnesses, as the priest was organizing morning prayers, three people on scooter approached the temple and drew the priest out by throwing stones at the temple.  They then stabbed him and slit his throat, shot at a devotee who came to his help and sped away.

On the same day, police arrested three JMB suspects from adjoining areas. Hours after the murder, IS claimed responsibility for the killing.

“The murder incident had left the entire community of Debiganj distraught for more than a week,” said Abdur Rahim, a resident of Panchargarh, to Asia Times. “But a sense of relief returned after the police conducted the latest raid and arrested three more JMB members,” he added.

Attacks on secularists in Bangladesh

Since 2013, a number of secularist writers, bloggers and publishers in Bangladesh have been killed or seriously injured in attacks perpetrated by Islamist extremists. The attacks have taken place at a time of growing tension between Bangladeshi secularists, who want the country to maintain its secularist tradition of separation of religion and state, and Islamists, who want an Islamic state. Tensions have also risen as a result of the country’s war crimes tribunal, which has recently convicted several members of the opposition Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party for crimes committed during Bangladesh’s bloody war of independence in 1971. Secularists have been calling for harsher penalties for the convicted, with some calling for the Jamaat-e-Islam party itself to be outlawed, drawing the ire of the party’s supporters. Responsibility for the attacks on secularists which have since occurred have been claimed by a number of militant groups including Ansarullah Bangla Team, who have frequently justified their attacks on the grounds that their victims are “atheists” and enemies of Islam. Four bloggers had been killed in 2015, but only 4 people were arrested in the murder cases.

Asif Mohiuddin

On 15 January 2013, Asif Mohiuddin, a self-described “militant atheist” blogger,[22] was stabbed near his office in Dhaka. He survived the attack.[22] Mohiuddin, a winner of the BOBs award for online activism, was on an Islamist hit list that also included the sociology professor Shafiul Islam.[23] The Islamist fundamentalist group Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility for the attack. According to Mohiuddin, he later met his attackers in jail, and they told him, “You left Islam, you are not a Muslim, you criticized the Koran, we had to do this.”[24] Reporters Without Borders stated that Mohiuddin and others have “clearly” been targeted for their “opposition to religious extremism.”[23]

Ahmed Rajib Haider

On the night of 15 February 2013, Ahmed Rajib Haider, an atheist blogger, was attacked while leaving his house in the Mirpur area of Dhaka. His body was found lying in a pool of blood,[25] mutilated to the point that his friends could not recognise him.[26] The following day, his coffin was carried through Shahbagh Square in a public protest attended by more than 100,000 people.[27]

Haider was an organizer of the Shahbag movement,[25] a group “which seeks death for war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir.”[28] According to Haiders family, Haider was murdered “for the blogs he used to write to bring ‘war criminals’ to justice”[28] and for his outspoken criticism of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.[27] The Shahbag movement described Haider as their “first martyr”.[28]

Sunnyur Rahaman

On the night of 7 March 2013, Sunnyur Rahaman was injured when two men swooped on him and hacked him with machetes. He came under attack around 9:00 pm near Purabi Cinema Hall in Mirpur. With the assistance of local police he was rushed to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital with wounds in his head, neck, right leg and left hand.[29] Rahaman was a Shahbag movement activist and a critic of various religious parties including Jamaat-e-Islami.[30]

Shafiul Islam

On 15 November 2014 a teacher of Rajshahi University sociology department named Shafiul Islam, a follower of the Baul community, was struck with sharp weapons by several youths on his way home. He died after being taken to Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital. A fundamentalist Islamist militant group named ‘Ansar al Islam Bangladesh-2‘ claimed responsibility for the attack. On a social media website, the group declared: “Our Mujahideens [fighters] executed a ‘Murtad’ [apostate] today in Rajshahi who had prohibited female students in his department to wear ‘Burka‘ [veil].”[12] The website also quoted a 2010 article from a newspaper affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami, which stated that “Professor Shafiul Islam, while being the chair of the sociology department, recruited teachers on condition of being clean-shaved and not wearing kurta-pajamas. He barred female students from wearing burka in classes. This led to many students abandoning burka against their will.”[12]

According to one of Shafiul Islams colleagues, the victim was not anti-Islam, but had prohibited female students from wearing full-face veils in his classes as he believed they could be used to cheat in exams.[31]

Avijit Roy

On 26 February 2015, bio-engineer Dr. Avijit Roy, a well-known Bangladeshi blogger, and his wife Bonya Ahmed were attacked in Dhaka by machete-wielding assailants.[15][32] Roy and his wife had been returning home from the Ekushey Book Fair by bicycle rickshaw[15] when around 8:30 pm they were attacked near the Teacher Student Center intersection of Dhaka University by unidentified assailants. According to witnesses, two assailants stopped and dragged them from the rickshaw to the pavement before striking them with machetes.[15] Roy was struck and stabbed in the head with sharp weapons. His wife was slashed on her shoulders and the fingers of her left hand severed when she attempted to go to her husband‘s aid.[33] Both were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where Roy died at 10:30 pm. His wife survived the attack.[34]

Roy was a naturalized U.S. citizen and founder of the influential Bangladeshi blog Mukto-Mona (“Freethinkers”). A champion of liberal secularism and humanism, Roy was an outspoken atheist and opponent of religious extremism. He was the author of ten books, the best known of which was a critique of religious extremism, Virus of Faith.[15] A group calling itself Ansar Bangla 7 claimed responsibility for the attack, describing Roy‘s writings as a “crime against Islam”.[34] They also stated that he was targeted as a U.S. citizen in retaliation for U.S. bombing of ISIS militants in Syria.[34]

Roy‘s killing sparked protests in Dhaka, and expressions of concern internationally.[15] UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, and for the government to defend freedom of expression and public debate.[35] Author Tahmima Anam wrote in The New York Times “Blogging has become a dangerous profession in Bangladesh” stating that writers have rallied at Dhaka University to criticise the authorities for “not doing enough to safeguard freedom of expression.”[36] Anam wrote

[Avijit Roy] and Mr. Rahman were the victims of murderous thugs, but they were also the victims of a poisonous political climate, in which secularists and Islamists, observant Muslims and atheists, Jamaat-e-Islami and the Awami League are pitted against one another. They battle for votes, for power, for the ideological upper hand. There seems to be no common ground.

Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star wrote that the death “is a spine-chilling warning to us all that we all can be targets. All that needs to happen for any of us to be killed is that some fanatic somewhere in the country, decides that someone or anyone, needs to be killed.” Anam stated

We believe that diversity, tolerance and freedom of conscience – fundamental to our existence – are being challenged here… What is being destroyed is an integral part of the values of our freedom struggle and the democratic struggle that we have waged so far.[37]

Oyasiqur Rhaman

On 30 March 2015, another blogger, Oyasiqur Rhaman, was killed in Dhaka in a similar attack to that perpetrated on Avijit Roy. The police arrested two suspects near the scene and recovered meat cleavers from them. The suspects said they killed Rhaman due to his anti-Islamic articles. Rhaman was reportedly known for criticizing “irrational religious beliefs”.[38] The suspects informed the police that they are also members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team and had trained for fifteen days before killing the blogger.[39]

Imran Sarker told reporters that unlike Roy, Oyasiqur Rhaman was not a high-profile blogger, but “was targeted because open-minded and progressive bloggers are being targeted in general. They are killing those who are easy to access, when they get the opportunity… The main attempt is to create fear among bloggers.”[6] According to Sarker, Rhaman‘s murder was part of a “struggle between those who are promoting political Islam to turn Bangladesh into a fundamentalist, religious state and the secular political forces … That is why [the bloggers] have become the main target, and the political parties who are supposed to prevent such attacks and provide security to them seem unable to do so. The main problem is that even mainstream political parties prefer to compromise with these radical groups to remain in power”.[6]

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a press release stating that Rhaman’s death occurred in a climate of “official harassment of journalists in Bangladesh”.[40]

Ananta Bijoy Das

Ananta Bijoy Das, an atheist blogger[7] who was on an extremist hit-list for his writing, was hacked to death by four masked men in Sylhet on 12 May 2015.[7] Ananta wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona. He had authored three books on science, evolution, and revolution in the Soviet Union, and headed the Sylhet-based science and rationalist council.[41][42] He was also an editor of a quarterly magazine called Jukti (Logic).[42]

Ananta Das was invited by Swedish PEN to discuss the persecution of writers in Bangladesh, but the Swedish government refused him a visa on the basis that he might not return to Bangladesh after his visit.[43]

Lawyer Sara Hossain said of Roy and Das, “They’ve always believed and written very vocally in support of free expression and they’ve very explicitly written about not following any religion themselves.”[44] Asia director of Human Rights Watch Brad Adams said on Ananta’s killing, “This pattern of vicious attacks on secular and atheist writers not only silences the victims but also sends a chilling message to all in Bangladesh who espouse independent views on religious issues.”[45]

An editorial in The Guardian stated “Like Raif Badawi, imprisoned and flogged in Saudi Arabia, the brave men who have been murdered are guilty of nothing more than honesty and integrity. Those are virtues that fundamentalists and fanatics cannot stand.”[43] It concludes “Violent jihadis have circulated a list with more than 80 names of free thinkers whom they wish to kill. The public murder of awkward intellectuals is one definition of barbarism. Governments of the west, and that of Bangladesh, must do much more to defend freedom and to protect lives.”[43]

Niloy Neel

Niladri Chattopadhyay Niloy,[46] also known as Niloy Chatterjee[47] and by his pen name Niloy Neel, was killed on 7 August 2015. It is reported that, a gang of about six men armed with machetes attacked him at his home in the Goran area of Dhaka and hacked to death.[48] Police said that the men had tricked his wife[46] into allowing them into his home before killing him. Neel had previously reported to the police that he feared for his life, but no action had been taken.[49] He was an organiser of the Science and Rationalist Association Bangladesh, and had gained a master’s degree in Philosophy from Dhaka University in 2013.[50] Niloy had written in Mukto-Mona, a blogging platform for secularists and freethinkers,[48] was associated with the Shahbag Movement,[51] and also attended the public protest demanding justice for the murdered bloggers, Ananta Bijoy Das and Avijit Roy.[52][53] Ansarullah Al Islam Bangladesh, an Al Qaeda group,[48] claimed responsibility for the killing of the blogger.[54]

The UN urged a quick and fair investigation of the murder, saying, “It is vital to ensure the identification of those responsible for this and the previous horrendous crimes, as well as those who may have masterminded the attacks.”[55] Amnesty International condemned the killing and said that it was the “urgent duty (of the government) to make clear that no more attacks like this will be tolerated”.[56] Other entities which condemned the killing, include the German Government,[57] Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina,[58] Human Rights Watch,[59] Communist Party of Bangladesh, Gonojagoron Moncho and other rightist and leftist political parties of Bangladesh.[60]

Writer Taslima Nasrin criticized the prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her Government saying, “Sheikh Hasina’s government is morally culpable. I am squarely blaming the state for these massacres in installment. Its indifference and so-called inability to rein in the murderous Ansarullah brigade is solely predicated on the fear of being labelled atheists.”[61]

Faisal Arefin Dipan

Faisal Arefin Dipan, aged 43, the publisher of Jagriti Prakashani,[62] which published Avijit Roy’s Biswasher Virus (Bengali for The Virus of Faith),[63] was hacked to death in Dhaka on 31 October 2015. Reports stated that he had been killed in his third-floor office at the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house. The attack followed another stabbing, earlier the same day, when publisher Ahmedur Rashid Tutul and two writers, Ranadeep Basu and Tareque Rahim, were stabbed in their office at another publishing house. The three men were taken to hospital, and at least one was reported to be in a critical condition.[64]

n had a role in this death.[68]

Written by Andrew Coates

March 3, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Islamic State Says Bangladesh the New Battleground.

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Islamic State Says it is Expanding to Bangladesh.

Islamism has been a major problem in Bangladesh since the Liberation War for National Independence in 1971.

The fight for freedom was met by genocide. This had the active support of Islamist groups, including the forerunners of the present Bangladeshi branch of the  Jamaat-e-Islami – an organisation which has a strong British organisation, notably in London’s East End.

The genocide in Bangladesh began on 26 March 1971 with the launch of Operation Searchlight,[3] as West Pakistan began a military crackdown on the Eastern wing of the nation to suppress Bengali calls for self-determination.[4] During the nine-month-long Bangladesh war for independence, members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias killed an estimated 26,000[5] to 3,000,000[2] people. According to more recent statements by Bangladeshi and Indian sources, some have estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women were raped in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape.[6][7] Other sources put the level of rapes as only a few hundred.

The Bangladesh Genocide Archive posts this:

There is no doubt whatsoever about the targets of the genocide. They were: (1) The Bengali militarymen of the East Bengal Regiment, the East Pakistan Rifles, police and para-military Ansars and Mujahids. (2) The Hindus — “We are only killing the men; the women and children go free. We are soldiers not cowards to kill them …” I was to hear in Comilla [site of a major military base] [Comments R.J. Rummel: “One would think that murdering an unarmed man was a heroic act” (Death By Government, p. 323)] (3) The Awami Leaguers — all office bearers and volunteers down to the lowest link in the chain of command. (4) The students — college and university boys and some of the more militant girls. (5) Bengali intellectuals such as professors and teachers whenever damned by the army as “militant.” (Anthony Mascarenhas, The Rape of Bangla Desh[Delhi: Vikas Publications, 1972(?)], pp. 116-1

Bangladesh is currently in turmoil as members of Islamist groups, notably senior members of parties like  have been sentenced to death for their participation in these atrocities.

This follows this: (Wikipedia)

The 2013 Shahbag protests, associated with the Shahbag central neighbourhood of Dhaka, Bangladesh, began on 5 February 2013 and later spread to other parts ofBangladesh, and became known as Gonojagaran Mancha (National Awakening Stage; gono means people, jagoron means awakening, and moncho means platform).[peacock term][dubious ] The people demanded capital punishment for Abdul Quader Mollah, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, and for others convicted of war crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh.[5][6] On that day, the International Crimes Tribunal had sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison after he was convicted on five of six counts of war crimes.[7][8] Later demands included banning the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party from politics including election and a boycott of institutions supporting (or affiliated with) the party.[9]

As a counter movement this was formed, (Wikipedia)

In 2013 Hefajat-e-Islam was formed after the allegation that some of the protestors in the Shahbag movement, were involved in publishing of content offensive to Muslims on blogs.[15] which is demanding capital punishment for Bangladesh liberation war criminals.[4] They arranged a rally towards capital city Dhaka, demanding enaction of capital punishment of the “atheist bloggers” involved in the Shahbag movement and a blasphemy law.[16][17][18]

The 13 points of the Islamist group includes:[19]

1. Restore the phrase “Complete faith and trust in the Almighty Allah” in the constitution

2. Pass a law in parliament keeping a provision of the capital punishment of death sentence to prevent defaming Islam.

3. Taking measures for stringent punishment of against self-declared atheists and bloggers, who led the Shahbaghmovement, and anti-Islamists who made derogatory remarks against the Muhammad. Also taking steps to stop the spread of “propaganda.”[20]

4. Stopping infiltration of all “alien-culture”, including shamelessness in the name of individual’s freedom of expression, anti-social activities, adultery, free mixing of male and female and candle lighting.[15] Stopping harassment of women, open fornication and adultery, sexual harassment, all forms of violence against women and an end to the tradition of dowry;[20]

5. Make Islamic education mandatory from primary to higher secondary levels canceling the women policy and anti-religion education policy.

6. Officially declaration Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslim.[15][20]

7. Stopping setting up sculptures at intersections, schools, colleges and universities across the country.

8. Lifting restrictions on prayers for ulema in all mosques across the country, including Baitul Mokarram National Mosque;

9. Stopping Islamophobic content in media;[20]

10. Stopping anti-Islam activities by NGOs across the country, including in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;[20]

11. Stop attacks and extrajudicial killing of ulema;[15]

12. Stopping harassment of teachers and students of Qawmimadrassas and ulema;[15]

13. Freedom for all arrested ulema and madrassa students and withdrawal of all cases filed against them, compensation for the victims, and bringing the assailants to justice.

This is happening now:

Bangladesh government has summoned the Pakistan high commissioner in Dhaka after his government said it was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the execution of war criminals Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

A senior foreign ministry official on Sunday night told bdnews24.com that High Commissioner Shuja Alam had been asked to visit the ministry on Monday.

He would have to explain his government’s comments on the internal matter of Bangladesh, the official added.

Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Mujahid and senior BNP leader Chowdhury, both sentenced to death two years ago for 1971 war crimes, were hanged in the early hours of Sunday.

And this.

In the latest edition of the militant group’s online propaganda magazine, IS calls for strategic expansion to Bangladesh or as it refers to the country ” Bengal”

The Islamic State (IS) militant group has warned that it is preparing for fresh attacks in Bangladesh “to rise and expand in Bengal.”

The group dedicated a full article to their activities in Bangladesh or “Bengal” as it refers to the country in the latest edition of its online propaganda magazine Dabiqwhere its strategic expansion to countries like Bangladesh is discussed at length.

The article titled The Revival of Jihad in Bengal claimed that while IS was busy preparing for further attacks, the secular Awami League government continued to “twist the facts” on the ground and play a blame game. That perhaps refers to the claims by the Bangladesh government that there was no Islamic State presence in the country and that elements out to destabilise it were behind the murders of two foreigners.

The IS also referred to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-Jamaat alliance as a ‘coalition of murtaddin (apostates)’.

“The former government, which consisted mainly of a coalition of murtaddin from both the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, foolishly thought that the call of tawhid, jihad, and khilafah would be crushed by the martyrdom of a few righteous scholars,” read a paragraph of the article.

However, the IS article calls the banned Islamic militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) a “proper jihad organisation in Bangladesh based on the Kuran and Sunnah.”

The Hindu. 21st November.

Our beloved comrades, the secularist Bangladeshi Bloggers, are caught at the centre of these conflicts. The report linked to below, on Al Jazeera, which was broadcast last night, cannot be too highly recommended.

Blogging is a dangerous business in Bangladesh.

Four secular bloggers have been brutally murdered this year and a publisher linked to one of them was recently slashed to death.

Police blame religious hardliners for the killings, and there are fears that more attacks could follow. But it is not just hardliners who are causing concern.

The government, too, appears to be cracking down on free speech. Some bloggers are now leaving Bangladesh, while others have gone into hiding.

In this edition of 101 East, we meet people whose lives are in peril because of the opinions they share online.

Al Jazeera

Written by Andrew Coates

November 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Islamists Hack Bangladeshi Secularist Publisher to Death.

with 2 comments

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Beloved Martyr Faisal Arefin Dipon.

The Daily Star (Bangladesh) reports,

The owner of Jagriti Prokashony Faisal Arefin Dipan was stabbed dead at Shahbagh in the capital hours after assailants knifed another publisher of books written by slain blogger Avijit Roy along with two bloggers at Lalmatia.

In the both the attacks – which are similar in nature, the perpetrators locked the victims inside their offices before leaving the scene.

Both the publishers published books of blogger and US citizen Avijit Roy who was killed in attack on February 26 near Teachers and Students Centre of Dhaka University.

“Dipan died of stab wounds found in the shoulder,” Muntasirul Islam, spokesperson of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), told The Daily Star.

Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque, father of Dipan, told journalists after the murder that those who have targeted those promoting free speech might be behind the attack.

Read the rest of the story: Publisher killed in second attack in Dhaka.

Attack on publishers: Gonojagoron demo tomorrow

Following the brutal attacks on country’s publishers that killed one and injured three others, leaders of Gonojagoron Mancha (National Awakening Stage, gono means people, jagoron means awakening, and moncho means platform) have called for a countrywide demonstration tomorrow.

Around the world people will be standing with Bangladeshi progressives against the enemies of humanity who attacked our beloved friends and comrades.

The BBC,

Bangladeshi secular publisher hacked to death

A Bangladeshi publisher of secular books has been hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in the second attack of its kind on Saturday, police say.

Faisal Arefin Dipon, 43, was killed at his office in the city centre, hours after another publisher and two secular writers were injured in an attack.

They are the latest victims in a series of deadly attacks on secularists since blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death by suspected Islamists in February.

Both publishers published Mr Roy.

Mr Dipon was found dead at the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, in his third-floor office.

“I saw him lying upside down and in a massive pool of blood. They slaughtered his neck. He is dead,” his father, the writer Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq, said, quoted by AFP.

Earlier on Saturday, armed men burst into the offices of publisher Ahmedur Rashid Tutul.

They stabbed Mr Tutul and two writers who were with him, locked them in an office and fled the scene, police said.

The three men were rushed to hospital, and at least one of them is in a critical condition.

The two writers were named by police as Ranadeep Basu and Tareque Rahim.

Mr Roy, a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin and critic of radical Islamism, was murdered in February. His wife and fellow blogger Bonya Ahmed was badly injured in the attack.

Three other bloggers have since been killed.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Bangladeshi Islamists Threaten our Sister and Brother Secularist Bloggers.

with 2 comments

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Stand by our Bangladeshi Sisters and Brothers.

Militant group publishes global hitlist of bloggers, activists and writers reports the Guardian.

Nine UK-based bloggers on list published by Bangladesh group Ansarullah Bangla Team, who have been blamed for a series of murders.

An Islamic militant group in Bangladesh has issued a hitlist of secular bloggers, writers and activists around the world, saying they will be killed if its demands are not met.

The list will raise fears that Islamic militant violence within the unstable south Asian country could take on an international dimension.

The targets in the list include nine bloggers based in the UK, seven in Germany, two in the US, one in Canada and one in Sweden. Some are Bangladeshi citizens living overseas. Others are dual nationals or citizens of the western nations.

The list was issued in a statement on the internet by the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a group that has been blamed for a series of murders of bloggers and activists in Bangladesh over the last 18 months. All those killed have been prominent critics of extremist religious doctrines, especially in Islam.

The acting leader of the ABT and two close associates were arrested earlier this month in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, for their involvement in the murder of a secular blogger earlier this year.

..

British-based bloggers of Bangladeshi origin named on the list have approached police in London and elsewhere following its publication. They say authorities have have advised them to take precautions to minimise the risk of attack.
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It is unclear if the ABT has the capability to carry out their threats, but its call for action may prompt individuals to mount “lone wolf” attacks.

Police have charged an ABT organiser and four supporters with the murder of a 27-year-old blogger, Washiqur Rahman, in Dhaka in March.

Rahman’s death came just weeks after a Bangladesh-born American atheist blogger was murdered in Dhaka by machete-wielding attackers.

The murder in February of Bangladeshi-born US citizen Avijit Roy, a science writer and blog moderator, prompted outrage around the world. His US-based widow is among those named on the new list the group appear to have issued.

The IBT Times notes,

In August, Niloy Neel was murdered in Dhaka, and two people were taken into custody in relation to the attack. In May, Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death by masked assailants with machetes in the city of Sylhet, northeast of Dhaka. Das wrote blog posts for Mukto-Mona (Free-mind), a website founded by Roy. In March, Washiqur Rahman, a blogger who decried religious fundamentalism, was killed in a similar attack near his Dhaka home.

See New Humanist Blog.