Just over a month ago, writer Avijit Roy was killed by Muslim extremists in Bangladesh, where he was promoting his latest works at a book fair.
Today, another atheist blogger, Oyasiqur Rhaman (or Washiqur Rahman, below), was killed in the same horrific way, in the same country:
[Police officer] OC Salauddin said miscreants stabbed Washiqur mercilessly around 9am Monday.
Locals took him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where on-duty doctor declared him dead on arrival.
“His face has been distorted as the miscreants hacked him mainly on the face,” said OC Salauddin.
Deputy police commissioner Biplob Kumar Sarker told AFP the motive for the killing appeared to be “ideological” differences with fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh.
“So far what we’ve gathered after primary interrogation of the two suspects is that they killed him him because he criticised hardline Islamists,” he said.
Two men are in custody for the attack.
The cover and profile photos on Rahman’s Facebook page were the words #IAmAvijit:
The International Humanist and Ethical Union reported on the killing earlier today:
Bob Churchill, Director of Communications at the [IHEU] comments: “We are deeply saddened that yet another rationalist voice has been so brutally silenced in this vile backlash against atheist bloggers. Our thoughts are with Washiqur’s family and we stand in solidarity with the many individual thinkers and writers from Bangladesh who exercise their right to discuss religion — Islam in particular — frankly and critically. This is a human right, freedom of expression, and it should be respected and protected in Bangladesh, as it should be respected and protected everywhere.”
We’ll post more on the situation soon.
***Update***: The American Humanist Association has weighed in with a statement:
Rhaman was described by his friends and fellow bloggers as a humanist and atheist. On social media, he criticized religious extremism and expressed solidarity with Avijit Roy, another humanist blogger and Bangladeshi-American who was killed only a few weeks ago for espousing secular views. The vicious nature of these two murders underscores the oppression and harassment faced by humanists around the world. The American Humanist Association reaffirms its commitment to free speech and to ending the prejudice against humanists and other nonbelievers by advancing secular values and human rights and opposing blasphemy laws.
In the wake of these appalling tragedies, the American Humanist Association is continuing to demand that U.S. Senators and Representatives hold hearings on the global persecution of humanists and other nontheists by religious fundamentalists. A copy of the letter sent to legislators can be viewed here.
The Center For Inquiry also said:
… A young man at age 27, Rahman was far less well-known than Dr. Roy, but his public expressions of admiration for Roy, and his courageous criticism of religion were sufficiently threatening to these extremist thugs that they tried to silence him as they silenced Dr. Roy.
But they will find that just as was the case with the murder of Dr. Roy, the power of the ideals and principles Washiqur Rahman championed will now only become a more potent force, and the hateful and backward ideology of his killers will be exposed to the world. Violent Islamic extremists think they will scare their critics into silence and submission, but their barbarity will only serve to strengthen the unity and resolve of those who believe in the fundamental right to free expression — which includes the right to criticize, question, and reject religion.
(Thanks to Jaynee for the link)