As many of you know, over the last few years there have been a series of brutal murders in Bangladesh. The victims include several atheist bloggers:
The discovery of the weapons raised alarms. For the last three years, atheist writers, freethinkers, foreigners, religious minorities, gay rights activists and others have been terrorized and killed in Bangladesh by shadowy figures who have struck with machetes and sped off on motorbikes.
Little was known about the attackers, except that they were Islamist radicals, and that their assaults have been coming with ever-greater frequency this year.
At least 39 people have been killed in attacks with machetes, guns and bombssince February 2013. The killings, mostly with machete blows to the back of the victim’s neck, have been accelerating lately, with five people murdered in April, four in May and at least three so far in June.
The police announced this morning that they are now aware of the groups responsible for the slayings:
In a lengthy interview, the chief of the police counterterrorism unit, Monirul Islam, who assumed his post in February, laid out the findings of his investigation in minute detail.
The killings were organized by two militant Islamic groups that have gathered volunteers and recruits, trained them and eventually seeded them into cells run by a commander, Mr. Islam said. They have tried to pick their targets with care, with the aim of gaining support from the public, he said, and trained teams of killers. Their goal was to convert Bangladesh’s mixed secular and religious culture to an Islamist one, the chief investigator said.
The Bangladeshi authorities say that they now believe they have identified the top leadership of the two groups they say are responsible, and that they are preparing to round them up. Only when the leaders are caught, they caution, will the attacks be stopped, and at that, only for a while if the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism is not blunted.
How else do you get to the point where it’s buried in your brain that murdering a person with a machete is a greater crime than thinking god doesn’t exist? How else but religion?
Sure, the perpetrators are people, but the problem is clearly religion and how susceptible the uncritical are to it.