A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through Bangladesh’s capital with his wife, police said Friday.
attack Thursday night on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen,
occurred on a crowded sidewalk as he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were
returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed, who is also a
blogger, was seriously injured. It was the latest in a series of attacks
on secular writers in Bangladesh in recent years. (AP)
(Photos by AP Photo/Rajib Dhar, AP Photo/A.M. Ahad,(4))
A prominent U.S. blogger, known for his writing against religious fundamentalism, has been hacked to death by unidentified attackers in Bangladesh’s capital, police said Friday.
The attack on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, took place late Thursday when he and his wife Rafida Ahmed, who was seriously injured in the attack, were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University.
It was not known who was behind the attack, but Roy’s family and friends say he was a prominent voice against religious fanatics and received threats in the past. No groups have claimed the responsibility.
The local police chief, Sirajul Islam, told The Associated Press that the assailants used cleavers to attack Roy and his wife, who is also a blogger.
“Several attackers took part in the attack and at least two assailants hit them directly,” Islam said, adding that two blood-stained cleavers were found after the attack.
Roy had founded a popular Bengali-language blog — Mukto-mona, or Free Mind — in which articles on scientific reasoning and religious extremism featured prominently.
Anujit Roy, his younger brother, said Roy had returned to the country earlier this month from the U.S. and was planning to return there next month.
Similar attacks have taken place in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people but ruled by secular laws, in the past. Investigators have said religious fanatics were behind those attacks.
In 2013, another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, who also spoke out against religious fanatics, was killed by unidentified assailants near his home in Dhaka.
And in 2004, Humayun Azad, a prominent writer and a teacher of Dhaka University, was seriously injured in an attack when he was returning from the same book fair, which is an annual event.
Baki Billah, a friend of Roy and a blogger, told Independent TV station that Roy had been threatened earlier by people upset at his writing.
“He was a free thinker. He was a Hindu but he was not only a strong voice against Islamic fanatics but also equally against other religious fanatics,” Billah said.
“We are saddened. We don’t know what the government will do to find the killers. We want justice,” he said.