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American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

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Compassionist
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American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#1 Postby Compassionist » February 27th, 2015, 8:34 am

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/f ... bangladesh

Avijit Roy, whose Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog championed liberal secular writing in the Muslim-majority nation, attacked along with his wife in Dhaka.

A prominent American blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death with machetes by unidentified assailants in Dhaka, police said, with the atheist writer’s family claiming he had received numerous threats from Islamists.

The body of Avijit Roy, founder of Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site which champions liberal secular writing in the Muslim-majority nation, was found covered in blood after the attack which also left his wife critically wounded.

“He died as he was brought to the hospital. His wife was also seriously wounded. She has lost a finger,” local police chief Sirajul Islam said.

The couple were on a bicycle rickshaw, returning from a book fair, when two assailants stopped and dragged them onto a sidewalk before striking them with machetes, local media reported citing witnesses.

Roy, said to be around 40, is the second Bangladeshi blogger to have been murdered in two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004.

Hardline Islamist groups have long demanded the public execution of atheist bloggers and sought new laws to combat writing critical of Islam.

“Roy suffered fatal wounds in the head and died from bleeding... after being brought to the hospital,” doctor Sohel Ahmed told reporters.

Police have launched a probe and recovered the machetes used in the attack but could not confirm whether Islamists were behind the incident.

But Roy’s father said the writer, a US citizen, had received a number of “threatening” emails and messages on social media from hardliners unhappy with his writing.

“He was a secular humanist and has written about ten books” including his most famous “Biswasher Virus” (Virus of Faith), his father Ajoy Roy told AFP.

The Center for Inquiry, a US-based charity promoting free thought, said it was “shocked and heartbroken” by the brutal murder of Roy.

“Dr Roy was a true ally, a courageous and eloquent defender of reason, science, and free expression, in a country where those values have been under heavy attack,” it said in a statement.

Roy’s killing also triggered strong condemnation from his fellow writers and publishers, who lamented the growing religious conservatism and intolerance in Bangladesh.

“The attack on Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed is outrageous. We strongly protest this attack and are deeply concerned about the safety of writers,” Imran H. Sarker, head of an association for bloggers in Bangladesh, told AFP.

Pinaki Bhattacharya, a fellow blogger and friend of Roy, claimed one of the country’s largest online book retailers was being openly threatened for selling Roy’s books.

“In Bangladesh the easiest target is an atheist. An atheist can be attacked and murdered,” he wrote on Facebook.

Atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was hacked to death in 2013 by members of a little known Islamist militant group, triggering nationwide protests by tens of thousands of secular activists.

After Haider’s death, Bangladesh’s hardline Islamist groups started to protest against other campaigning bloggers, calling a series of nationwide strikes to demand their execution, accusing them of blasphemy.

The secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reacted by arresting some atheist bloggers.

The government also blocked about a dozen websites and blogs to stem the furore over blasphemy, as well as stepping up security for the bloggers.

Bangladesh is the world’s fourth-largest Muslim majority nation with Muslims making up some 90 per cent of the country’s 160 million people.

A tribunal has recently handed down a series of verdicts against leading Islamists and others for crimes committed during the war of independence from Pakistan in 1971.

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Dave B
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#2 Postby Dave B » February 27th, 2015, 9:30 am

The secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reacted by arresting some atheist bloggers.
This incident and the above response seems to indicate the depths of iniquity that religion can drag humans into.

Though, perhaps, it is as much a sign of a sickness within the peoples in the area mainly civered by Islam, a whole slice of the world where difference is intolerable and the life of those different of no value at all. I am not convinced that the religion, as in N Ireland, is not just an excuse to vent a kind of "historic" anger.
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Compassionist
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#3 Postby Compassionist » February 27th, 2015, 9:37 am

Dave B wrote:
The secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reacted by arresting some atheist bloggers.
This incident and the above response seems to indicate the depths of iniquity that religion can drag humans into.

Sadly, there are more religious humans than secular humans. Since we live under democracy (i.e. mob rule) we have to put up with blasphemy laws and other such breaches of Human Rights.


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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#5 Postby Dave B » February 28th, 2015, 1:34 pm

Compassionist wrote:
Dave B wrote:
The secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reacted by arresting some atheist bloggers.
This incident and the above response seems to indicate the depths of iniquity that religion can drag humans into.

Sadly, there are more religious humans than secular humans. Since we live under democracy (i.e. mob rule) we have to put up with blasphemy laws and other such breaches of Human Rights.

I take it that is the global inclusive "we", Compo?

As was said on the radio today, democracy and religion are incompatible.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#6 Postby Compassionist » February 28th, 2015, 7:14 pm


Thank you for sharing the link. Yes, words cannot be killed but those who say or write the words can. We live in a world where might is right, where if you have enough power you can get away with anything. I feel sad and powerless to prevent atrocities. I am very upset and frustrated that despite all our technology we still can't protect everyone's lives, nevermind their human rights. http://mukto-mona.com/wordpress/ is the website created by him. There are humanist articles on it.

Compassionist
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#7 Postby Compassionist » February 28th, 2015, 7:17 pm

Dave B wrote:
Compassionist wrote:Sadly, there are more religious humans than secular humans. Since we live under democracy (i.e. mob rule) we have to put up with blasphemy laws and other such breaches of Human Rights.

I take it that is the global inclusive "we", Compo?

As was said on the radio today, democracy and religion are incompatible.

By 'we' I mean all humans. If it were up to me the whole world would be one country and everyone's human rights would be protected. Sadly, I have little power in a reality where might is right.

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#8 Postby Compassionist » March 2nd, 2015, 4:13 pm

My Mum was saying that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims who kill non-Muslims are not proper Muslims. I pointed out that the Quran is self-contradictory (e.g. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran ... /free.html ) and is, therefore, unreliable. She was cross with me and told me I was too much of a nobody to think such 'lofty thoughts'.

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#9 Postby Alan H » March 2nd, 2015, 4:17 pm

Compassionist wrote:My Mum was saying that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims who kill non-Muslims are not proper Muslims. I pointed out that the Quran is self-contradictory (e.g. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran ... /free.html ) and is, therefore, unreliable. She was cross with me and told me I was too much of a nobody to think such 'lofty thoughts'.
How dare you think for yourself...
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#10 Postby Compassionist » March 2nd, 2015, 4:27 pm

Alan H wrote:
Compassionist wrote:My Mum was saying that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims who kill non-Muslims are not proper Muslims. I pointed out that the Quran is self-contradictory (e.g. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran ... /free.html ) and is, therefore, unreliable. She was cross with me and told me I was too much of a nobody to think such 'lofty thoughts'.
How dare you think for yourself...

After I left Islam, my parents tried to force me to return to Islam. Asking questions, looking for evidence to prove the claims made in the Quran and requiring consistency between all the verses were not appreciated by any Muslim I have ever met. Some tried to return me to Islam while others issued death threats and called me Kafir. Given how Muslims and Christians have reacted, being an ex-Muslim ex-Christian Humanist is the hardest thing I have ever done and continue to do.

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#11 Postby Compassionist » March 2nd, 2015, 7:01 pm

Compassionist wrote:Asking questions, looking for evidence to prove the claims made in the Quran and requiring consistency between all the verses were not appreciated by any Muslim I have ever met. Some tried to return me to Islam while others issued death threats and called me Kafir.
To be even handed, asking questions, looking for evidence to prove the claims made in the Bible and requiring consistency between all the verses were not appreciated by any Christian I have ever met either. Although, I have never received death threats from any Christian. In general, religious people are not critical of their own religion even though they may be critical of other religions and lack of religion.

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#12 Postby Alan H » July 2nd, 2015, 10:07 pm

Attacked Bangladeshi humanist blogger Bonya Ahmed delivers 2015 Voltaire Lecture
Bonya Ahmed has delivered the 2015 Voltaire Lecture, hosted by the British Humanist Association, in London tonight to a packed audience of fellow humanists and free speech advocates. Bonya is a Bangladeshi blogger and writer who alongside her husband Avijit Roy was attacked by Islamists with machetes in Dhaka in February. Avijit was murdered and Bonya suffered serious wounds. A number of other bloggers, including Washiqur Rahman and Ananta Bijoy Das, have also been killed in similar attacks.

Bonya gave a moving speech in which she outlined her life with Avijit, who set up Muktomona (‘Freethinker’), the first online humanist community in Bangladesh; the attack on her and her husband which took his life; and the grave situation that the humanist community in Bangladesh faces, as Islamists work their way through a list of bloggers, murdering them on the streets one by one.

In her lecture, Bonya repeatedly asked, ‘How did it come to this? How did we end up with murders in the streets, and what is the wider context for this series of assassinations of humanist intellectuals, writers and bloggers?’ She took the audience through the history of Bangladesh, the laws used to persecute the humanist bloggers, the repeated caving in of the Government to the demands of Islamists, and the need for bravery in the face of attack. She quoted one of Avijit’s blogs, where he wrote ‘Those who think victory will be realized without any bloodshed are merely living in a fool’s paradise. We risk our lives the moment we started wielding our pens against religious bigotry and fundamentalism…’

Closing the speech, Bonya said:

‘Sometimes, especially in the past few months, I have thought about my own feelings — my own loss and outrage, so real and important to me — and how these feelings contrast with the careless, indifferent, value-less universe in which we live. This contrast between human value, and the careless universe, is of course one of the great challenges of, and to, Humanism. How can we cope with this paradox in our own minds?

‘In two ways, I believe! First, is to realize that this weightlessness, this valuelessness of “the view from nowhere”, of the careless universe, is a nothing! A zero! And therefore, it is nothing to worry about! What we are left with is us, ourselves: my thoughts and feelings, my losses as well as my triumphs, the meaning in my life, these are all important, because they are all that counts.

‘And it makes no sense until we extend this realization as far as it will go in the human family. It is not just ourselves, but each other, every trafficked slave, every murdered writer, every lost and lonely mind, that are important and have value. We know this in theory, but we must, right now, in this world on the brink of so many extraordinary outrages, reach out across international borders, extend our personal circles of care and empathy to include everyone — every human being — fully and confidently as a person of moral worth. In Bangladesh they are fighting machetes with pens and this is the only way we can celebrate Avijit’s, Ananta’s life. This is one of the twenty-first century challenges of Humanism.’


The speech was followed by a discussion with the Chair, BHA President Jim Al-Khalili, and questions from the audience.

Reacting to the speech, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘Freedom of thought, speech and expression is one of the most fundamental human rights that we enjoy and yet it is also one that is most consistently under attack all around the globe. Bonya’s powerful and moving testimony speaks to the bravery that is needed in many parts of the world to be able to speak out as a humanist in a way that we take for granted here in the UK. We will continue to support individuals like Bonya, Asif Mohiuddin and their fellow bloggers, and work with our international partners to end blasphemy laws worldwide.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

Support the End Blasphemy Laws campaign: http://end-blasphemy-laws.org/

This year’s lecture was recorded and will be uploaded to youtube.com/britishhumanists soon.

The Voltaire Lectures Fund was established by the legacy of Theodore Besterman, biographer of Voltaire, for lectures on ‘any aspect of scientific or philosophical thought or human activity as affected by or with particular reference to humanism.’ The British Humanist Association now oversees the fund. Previous Voltaire lecturers have included: Previous Voltaire Lecturers have included Professor Sir David King, Professor Anthony Grayling, Professor Steven Pinker, Professor Brian Cox, Professor Richard Dawkins, Baroness Wootton, Professor Robert Hinde, Kenan Malik, Natalie Haynes, Lord Taverne, and Sir Ludovic Kennedy. It is always chaired by the President of the BHA.

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.
We were at her lecture. I have no idea how she managed to stand in front of hundreds and hundreds of people and talk so calmly about the murder of her husband just four months ago. Towards the end, when Jim asked her about writing another book, she casually mentioned that she had stopped writing in 2011 when she had cancer.

As it says, her lecture will be on youtube soon.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#13 Postby Alan H » July 5th, 2015, 11:45 am

Machetes fail to maim this human spirit

Compassionist: are you aware of the Mukto-Mona website?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#14 Postby Compassionist » July 8th, 2015, 11:54 am

Alan H wrote:Machetes fail to maim this human spirit

Compassionist: are you aware of the Mukto-Mona website?

Thank you for your posts Alan. Sorry I hadn't noticed them until now. Yes, I am aware of Mukto-Mona website.

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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#15 Postby Alan H » July 27th, 2015, 12:45 pm

Now online, Bonya Ahmed's inspiring and moving lecture:



Bangladeshi blogger Bonya Ahmed, widow of Mukto-Mona founder Avijit Roy, came to London by invitation of the British Humanist Association to give a seminal lecture on the daily threat faced by Bangladeshi humanist bloggers and others like them around the world. Four months after she survived the attack which killed her husband in February 2015, Bonya summons great courage and strength to present an inspirational account of her life with Avijit why freedom of expression and Humanism are causes worth fighting for.

The lecture was chaired by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, BHA President and himself a former Voltaire Lecturer. Previous Voltaire Lecturers have included Professor Sir David King, Professor Anthony Grayling, Professor Steven Pinker, Professor Brian Cox, Professor Richard Dawkins, Baroness Wootton, Professor Robert Hinde, Kenan Malik, Natalie Haynes, Lord Taverne, and Sir Ludovic Kennedy. It is always chaired by the President of the BHA.

The full text of Bonya's speech is available at: https://humanism.org.uk/fighting-machet ... e-lecture/
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Compassionist
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#16 Postby Compassionist » July 28th, 2015, 11:53 am

Thanks for posting the video Alan.

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Alan H
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#17 Postby Alan H » August 18th, 2015, 10:55 am

Avijit Roy death: British man arrested after atheist blogger hacked to death
Three members of an extremist Islamist group have been arrested in connection with the murders of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Compassionist
Posts: 3224
Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#18 Postby Compassionist » February 26th, 2016, 10:15 am

Alan H wrote:Avijit Roy death: British man arrested after atheist blogger hacked to death
Three members of an extremist Islamist group have been arrested in connection with the murders of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das

Thank you for sharing that Alan. Today's is the first anniversary of the murder of Avijit Roy.

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Alan H
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#19 Postby Alan H » February 26th, 2016, 10:19 am

Indeed, Compassionist. We all have our own daily struggles and we must find the courage and strength to cope and move forward as best we can.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

#20 Postby Dave B » February 26th, 2016, 11:22 am

Yes, the "evil" amongst us have no compunction about offering violence. Be thankful the Humanism, at least, is somewhat more tolerant to dissenters.

It is not a sad or nasty world, IMHO, Compo, just a world with some nasty people. And some very good ones.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015


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