Bangladeshi Government Bans Group That Killed Atheist Bloggers, but It’s Not Enough May 26, 2015

Bangladeshi Government Bans Group That Killed Atheist Bloggers, but It’s Not Enough

This is the first real sign of justice we’ve seen in Bangladesh following the brutal killings of atheist writers Dr. Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das.

The government is banning the extremist group allegedly responsible for these killings:

The Home Ministry’s move to outlaw the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) comes almost a week after police asked the government to ban the group, suspecting it of being behind the deaths of three bloggers this year.

Police had also earlier charged ABT members with the 2013 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.

“The (junior home minister) today signed a government order, outlawing the militant organisation Ansarullah Bangla Team,” Sharif Mahmud, a ministry spokesman, told AFP.

That may not be enough to protect the lives of other critics of religion. It’s not like Islamic extremists are neatly quarantined in a single group, after all. The ideology is poisonous, pervasive, and spreading.

Where’s the jail time? Where’s the justice for the families of the deceased? What’s to stop these extremists from moving to another country and continuing their activities? What’s being done to protect critics of religion who still live there?

Telling a handful of extremists that they need to move out may trip them up temporarily but it won’t change much long-term.

Farid Ahmed, a secular critic of religion who worked closely with some of the assassinated bloggers on the website Mukto Mona, lives in Toronto and says he’s still freaked out they’re gonna come after him:

“[The death of Avijit Roy was] a big loss. It’s not only I lost a friend. But in online, especially in the Bengali community, Mukto Mona is a big thing,” said Mr. Ahmed. For Bangladeshi atheists, the site is a gathering place for debate and opinion — a kind of “umbrella,” said Mr. Ahmed.

Speaking at his Toronto home, Mr. Ahmed is pensive. He is getting messages from Mukto Mona writers in hiding. “Somebody will get killed within a short time,” he said with certainty.

“But right now, everyone knows I’m running Mukto Mona,” said Mr. Ahmed. “That’s enough to kill me.”

So Bangladesh banning one extremist group? (Even several of them, since this was the sixth such group to be banned this year?) It’s a start. But no one is sleeping soundly thinking the nightmare is over. Their lives are still in danger because some Islamic fanatics hold an ideology that requires them to kill all critics.

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