A couple of weeks ago, atheist author Dr. Avijit Roy (below) and his wife Rafida Bonya Ahmed were returning home from a book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh where they were promoting Roy’s latest work, when assailants came after them with cleavers and “hacked them mercilessly.”
Roy died shortly afterwards and Ahmed remains in critical condition. Suspects have been arrested.
Meanwhile, Ahmed issued her first public statement yesterday to the Center For Inquiry:
My husband, Avijit Roy, wrote about science and rationalism and critiqued religious fundamentalism. Because of this, he was murdered. On February 26, 2015, he and I were attacked in a crowded area on the Dhaka University campus. Avijit was hacked to death by a machete; I survived.
As his wife, fellow writer, and a freethinker, I strongly condemn this gruesome act of terror.
The Dhaka University campus has historically been a space for progressive movements. It is also where Avijit grew up. Despite the death threat, we could not fathom that such a heinous crime could take place in such an area — a crime not only against a person, but against freedom of speech and humanity. While Avijit and I were being ruthlessly attacked, the local police stood close by and did not act. Now, we demand that the Bangladeshi government do everything in its power to bring the murderers to justice.
I do not believe that simply catching the killers will be enough. I urge the government to address terrorism and stop a legal culture of impunity, where writers can be killed without the killers being brought to trial. I urge the world to recognize what has happened and join us in this demand for justice.
– Rafida Bonya Ahmed
Those are some powerful words that we all hope will be heeded. But the Bangladeshi police aren’t exactly people who inspire confidence, given how many bloggers in the country have been charged with blasphemy for the “crime” of questioning religious dogma.
(Photo via Facebook)