Joshua Hammer, writing for the New York Times Magazine, is the latest journalist to tackle the plight of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh. The scariest passage may be this one about Asif Mohiuddin, who was attacked by terrorists in 2013:
Still recovering from his injuries, Mohiuddin now found himself locked inside Dhaka’s vast Central Prison. One day, as he walked along the corridor outside his cell, he heard someone calling his name from the catwalk one flight above.
“I looked up and saw a young man on the balcony,” Mohiuddin recalled. “He said, ‘Asif, do you remember me?’ I said, ‘No, who are you?’ He said, ‘I was the one who knifed you.’ ‘O.K.,’ I said, ‘so come down, and we can talk.’”
The man came downstairs and told him that he had “wanted to do something for jihad.” An imam from a Dhaka mosque recruited him and the three other attackers, he said. “He was proud, and he was a little bit sorry, because I survived,” remembered Mohiuddin, glancing out the window of the cafe. “I asked him, ‘What will you do if you get out of the prison?’ He said, ‘I will try again.'”
Creepy… Asif managed to get out of Bangladesh, but his life is still in peril, and many other writers don’t have the option or opportunity to leave. They continue to face the ultimate penalty for a right so many of us take for granted.