American blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi-American blogger who wrote often opposing religious extremism was hacked to death on the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, as he returned home from a book fair with his wife. Avijit Roy, whose blog Free Mind spoke out against extremism in all religions, was killed by Muslim extremists who carefully planned and executed the attack professionally.

"This is the handiwork of a professional. They knew where to hit to kill a man,” the autopsy doctor said adding it was impossible to carry out such an attack without "planning, skill and brutality."

A Muslim extremist group took responsibility for the brutal killing.

Associated Press:

A previously unknown militant group, Ansar Bangla 7, claimed responsibility for the attack, Assistant Police Commissioner S.M. Shibly Noman told the Prothom Alo newspaper.

Roy "was the target because of his crime against Islam," the group said on Twitter.

Roy was a prominent voice against religious intolerance, and his family and friends say he had been threatened for his writings.

About 8:45 p.m. Thursday, a group of men ambushed the couple as they walked toward a roadside tea stall, with at least two of the attackers hitting them with meat cleavers, police Chief Sirajul Islam said. The attackers then ran away, disappearing into the crowds.

Two blood-stained cleavers were found after the attack, he said.

Islamic extremism has made few inroads in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people, but there have been a series of similar attacks in recent years blamed on militants.

A divide has become increasingly visible between secular bloggers and conservative Islamic groups, often covertly connected with Islamist parties, with the secularists urging authorities to ban religion-based politics while the Islamists press for blasphemy laws to protect their faith.

Islam is Bangladesh's state religion but the country is governed by secular laws based on British common law, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly said she will not give in to religious extremism.

Roy had founded a popular Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona, or Free Mind, which featured articles on scientific reasoning and religion.

The website has apparently been shut down since the attack, but Roy defended atheism in a January posting on Facebook, calling it "a rational concept to oppose any unscientific and irrational belief."

Two other anti-extremist writers in Bangladesh have been murdered in the last few years as Islamic terrorists seek to impose sharia law on the country. One must assume that the attacks will continue until the authorities crack down on extremism - something not likely to happen in a Muslim majority country.

Another example that rationalism and Islam are incompatible, and that promoting reason in Bangladesh and most other Muslim countries is a dangerous course to choose.

A Bangladeshi-American blogger who wrote often opposing religious extremism was hacked to death on the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, as he returned home from a book fair with his wife. Avijit Roy, whose blog Free Mind spoke out against extremism in all religions, was killed by Muslim extremists who carefully planned and executed the attack professionally.

"This is the handiwork of a professional. They knew where to hit to kill a man,” the autopsy doctor said adding it was impossible to carry out such an attack without "planning, skill and brutality."

A Muslim extremist group took responsibility for the brutal killing.

Associated Press:

A previously unknown militant group, Ansar Bangla 7, claimed responsibility for the attack, Assistant Police Commissioner S.M. Shibly Noman told the Prothom Alo newspaper.

Roy "was the target because of his crime against Islam," the group said on Twitter.

Roy was a prominent voice against religious intolerance, and his family and friends say he had been threatened for his writings.

About 8:45 p.m. Thursday, a group of men ambushed the couple as they walked toward a roadside tea stall, with at least two of the attackers hitting them with meat cleavers, police Chief Sirajul Islam said. The attackers then ran away, disappearing into the crowds.

Two blood-stained cleavers were found after the attack, he said.

Islamic extremism has made few inroads in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people, but there have been a series of similar attacks in recent years blamed on militants.

A divide has become increasingly visible between secular bloggers and conservative Islamic groups, often covertly connected with Islamist parties, with the secularists urging authorities to ban religion-based politics while the Islamists press for blasphemy laws to protect their faith.

Islam is Bangladesh's state religion but the country is governed by secular laws based on British common law, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly said she will not give in to religious extremism.

Roy had founded a popular Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona, or Free Mind, which featured articles on scientific reasoning and religion.

The website has apparently been shut down since the attack, but Roy defended atheism in a January posting on Facebook, calling it "a rational concept to oppose any unscientific and irrational belief."

Two other anti-extremist writers in Bangladesh have been murdered in the last few years as Islamic terrorists seek to impose sharia law on the country. One must assume that the attacks will continue until the authorities crack down on extremism - something not likely to happen in a Muslim majority country.

Another example that rationalism and Islam are incompatible, and that promoting reason in Bangladesh and most other Muslim countries is a dangerous course to choose.