Violence in Bangladesh After ‘Atheist Bloggers’ Criticize Islam

There are headlines all over the place referring to a clash in Bangladesh over “atheist bloggers” resulting in the deaths of at least four people.

“Atheist bloggers” is in quotation marks, of course, because the unnamed bloggers never did anything wrong. They just criticized Islam and some extremists can’t handle that:

The country’s 12 Islamic parties called the protests after Friday prayers in nearly half a million mosques nationwide, demanding the execution of bloggers whom they say blasphemed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Tensions have risen in the Muslim-majority nation over allegedly anti-Islamic blog posts by Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death last week near his home in Dhaka.

In recent weeks Haider and fellow bloggers had launched huge protests demanding a ban on the largest Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, and the execution of its leaders for alleged war crimes in the 1971 independence conflict with Pakistan.

Since Haider’s death, Bangladeshi social media has been flooded with his alleged blog posts and with those by other bloggers mocking Islam, triggering protests by a number of Islamic groups and clerics.

Despite the gruesome death of one blogger, that last paragraph ought to give us some hope. In response to violence, other bloggers didn’t back away from criticism. Instead, they “blasphemed” even harder. I hope they keep doing it until the extremists realize they can’t contain the criticism and give up altogether. These are cowards who think violence and suppression will help preserve their barbaric, ancient traditions. It won’t work. But it’ll takes the courage of thousands of bloggers and critics, anonymous or not, to set them straight.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Greg G.

    If there were a powerful god who hated blasphemy as much as he hates faster than light travel, blasphemy would be impossible.

  • Stev84

    Extremist christians would do exactly the same if it were still socially acceptable. The difference is that Islam never went trough an Enlightenment period.

  • The Fog Horn

    I’m not defending Islam but please point out the fact a lot of what is bad about Islam came from Judaism…the Old Testament. In just one chapter of the Hebrew Bible, Judges 1, you will find extensive genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced marriage, forced labour and the cutting off of fingers and toes.

    They ALL have to go!

    The Abrahamic religions were based on an imaginery volcano god.

    Please please please look into the theory, which is covered by my over 160 posts.

    Please link to me and I will reciprocate.

  • Michael Harrison

    Well, they had their Golden Age, but then they backslid. Oh, how they backslid.

  • DougI

    The only freedoms fundamentalists care about is their own. They don’t even need to read the blog, just having an Atheist in their midst is enough to spur them to violence. Savages.

  • J-Rex

    Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity. 600 years ago, Europe had the Renaissance. I’m really hoping something similar starts to happen in the middle east.

  • SeekerLancer

    Reactions like this make me lose hope that there will ever be any semblance of peace in or with the middle east.

  • Claude

    Fundamentalism is the menace, whenever and wherever it erupts.

  • chicago dyke

    actually, it almost did. and then one very bright, very charismatic scholar of the Koran got in the game. he was even sort of a freethinker, as a youth. then, he had a vision and decided to take out all his old teachers and buddies on the other side in a series of highly public debates and writings. he singlehandedly set the islam world back from being on the very of intellectual enlightenment to this sort of barbarity we see in the islamic world today.

    i don’t care for the buybull much, but i encourage all of you to read a koran sometime. it’s horrifying. Allah hates this, Allah will kill you if you do that, kill kill kill. i recently reread it and was sickened by all the violence in it.

  • Edmond

    Trouble is, the Renaissance took 300 years. We certainly could be seeing the first steps of one, and things like the internet and modern electronic communication could speed it up, but we may not see any significant, lasting effects within our lifetimes.

  • sricandra

    Sooo what exactly did his blog say?

  • Midare

    I find it disgusting that words can get one killed. Words do not kill, actions kill.