Prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death

February 27, 2015 4:50 pm

A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out
against religious extremism was hacked to death as he walked through
’s capital with his wife, police said Friday.
The
attack Thursday night on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US citizen,
occurred on a crowded sidewalk as he and his wife, , were
returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed, who is also a
blogger, was seriously injured.
Police have named no suspects in
the attack. Roy was a prominent voice against religious intolerance, and
his family and friends say he had been threatened for his writings.
Similar
attacks in the past in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160
million people, have been blamed on Islamic extremists.

Flowers lie at the site where Avijit Roy was attacked and killed, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo / AP
Flowers lie at the site where Avijit Roy was attacked and killed, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo / AP

About
8.45pm on Thursday, a group of men ambushed the couple as they walked
toward a roadside tea stall, with at least two of the attackers hitting
them with meat cleavers, police Chief Sirajul Islam said.

The attackers then ran away, disappearing into the crowds.
Two blood-stained cleavers were found after the attack, he said.
Roy
had founded a popular Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona, or Free Mind,
which featured articles on scientific reasoning and religion.
The
website has apparently been shut down since the attack. Roy defended
atheism in a January posting on Facebook, calling it “a rational concept
to oppose any unscientific and irrational belief”.

Bangladeshi students and social activists protest against the killing of Avijit Roy on Friday. Photo / AP
Bangladeshi students and social activists protest against the killing of Avijit Roy on Friday. Photo / AP

, his younger brother, said Roy had returned to the country
earlier this month from the US and was planning to go back in March.
In
2013, another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, who also spoke out against
religious extremism, was killed by still-unidentified assailants near
his Dhaka home. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a prominent writer and teacher at
Dhaka University, was seriously injured in an attack when he was
returning from the same book fair.
, a friend of Roy
and a blogger, told Independent TV that Roy had been threatened earlier
by people upset at his writing.
“He was a free thinker. He was a
Hindu but he was not only a strong voice against Islamic fanatics but
also equally against other religious fanatics,” Billah said.
“We are saddened. We don’t know what the government will do to find the killers. We want justice,” he said.

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