Religion of peace: Islamic extremists assassinate another atheist blogger in Bangladesh.
Neel, also known as Niloy Chakrabarti, was an atheist blogger who promoted secular and progressive causes while also criticizing the Islamic fundamentalism that is currently threatening to destabilize Bangladesh.
Imran H Sarkar, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, told the BBC that Mr Neel had been an anti-extremist voice of reason:
He was the voice against fundamentalism and extremism and was even a voice for minority rights – especially women’s rights and the rights of indigenous people.
In what has become a disturbing pattern, this is the fourth assassination of an atheist blogger in Bangladesh by Islamic extremists this year.
In February, machete-wielding assailants hacked to death American atheist and blogger Avijit Roy while returning from a book fair in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
In March, machete-wielding assailants hacked to death atheist blogger Washikur Rahman near his home in Dhaka.
And in May, Ananta Bijoy Das, another atheist blogger, was hacked to death with cleavers and machetesas he left his home on his way to work at a bank.
CNN notes that in 2014, Reporters Without Borders reported that a group calling itself Defenders of Islam in Bangladesh had published a “hit list” of 84 writers it saw as opposing Islam.
All of the assassinated bloggers appear on that “hit list”
In a press release concerning the most recent assassination, Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), said:
What was already a human rights crisis has now spun entirely out of control, and it is now long overdue for the government of Bangladesh to take seriously its moral responsibility to protect the lives of its people. But this problem goes deeper than just Bangladesh. The world can no longer sit by and allow this global crackdown on free expression, by both terror groups and states alike, to continue. The rights to free expression and dissent must be protected and cherished, and these killings must be stopped now.
CFI has established the Freethought Emergency Fund in order to assist in the protection and escape of secularist writers and activists in countries like Bangladesh who have been targeted for death by Islamic extremists.