For the third time this year an atheist blogger has been hacked to death in Bangladesh as Muslim militants desperately try to silence any and all critics of Islam in a campaign of savage brutality.
CNN reports Ananta Bijoy Das, 32, was killed Tuesday morning as he left his home on his way to work. Police report four masked men attacked the atheist blogger, hacking him to death with cleavers.
Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers’ association, said that Das was “an atheist and wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona”, a website which used to be moderated by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was himself hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in February.
The killing of Das is the third time this year a blogger was killed for online posts critical of Islam. Last March machete-wielding assailants hacked to death atheist blogger Washikur Rahman near his home, in an attack very similar to the attack against Das.
Last Februaray machete-wielding assailants hacked to death Avijit Roy, an American atheist and blogger critical of Islamic extremism. Roy, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin was the founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site.
In each case, the attacks were carried out publicly on city streets.
Sara Hussain, a lawyer and human rights activist in Dhaka, told the BBC Das and Roy were both on a list of targets, noting:
They’ve always believed and written very vocally in support of free expression and they’ve very explicitly written about not following any religion themselves.
These last two have been part of a blog called Mukto-Mona (Free Mind), which is about free thinking and is about explicitly taking on religious fundamentalism and particularly Islamic religious fundamentalism. Their names have been on lists of identified targets.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:
We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ananta Bijoy Das, and our thoughts are with him, his family, his friends and all his fellow bloggers. Das was a critic of religious fundamentalism, a strong advocate of science and a powerful advocate of freedom of speech and expression.
The Bangladeshi authorities have once again failed to protect one of those most at risk, in spite of his well-known association with others who have been murdered in exactly the same way. Bangladesh must do more to protect Das’s fellow bloggers, and do everything it can to bring his attackers to justice. And countries in Europe must recognise the plight of the non-religious and the very real threat that individuals like Das face in their home countries.
Moderate Muslims and other assorted apologists will offer excuses and explanations as to why these brutal murders are not representative of some mythical “true Islam,” the supposed religion of peace. However, by now most realists understand that Islam is not a religion of peace, and that often times Islam is a religion of violence, intimidation, and death.