Ananta Roy Das (bbc.com)
On March 30, I posted “Death by Blogging,” about the murders of Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rhaman and Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy. The third fatal attack since February occurred today in Bangladesh when Ananta Bijoy Das was chased through the streets of Sylhet by four men wielding machetes.
A banker who spoke out against religious extremism, Mr. Das wrote for “Mukto-Mona” or “Free Mind,” the website once moderated by Mr. Roy. He also edited Logic, a magazine publishing essays on secular humanism.
In 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was also murdered. He, Mr. Roy and Mr. Rhaman were all part of the “Shahbag” movement, calling for the death penalty for Islamist political leaders implicated in atrocities during Bangladesh’s war of liberation from Pakistan in 1971.
The leader of Al Qaeda’s Indian branch has claimed responsibility for the deaths of Mr. Roy and Mr. Haider.
Mrs. Roy who was seriously injured when she tried to defend her husband against his assailants, called his murder a “global act of terrorism.” She said that no one from the Bangladeshi government has reached out to her since her husband’s death on February 27.
I shall continue to post updates about the situation in Bangladesh and anywhere else where bloggers and other writers are being persecuted.
The War Against Words must not be taken lightly.
Bangladeshi blogger Oyasiqur Rhaman, 27 years old, was macheted to death over his comments on extreme Islam. This is the second killing of this kind in five weeks in the capital city, Dhaka.
The other slain blogger was Bangladeshi-American Dr. Avijit Roy who harshly criticized fundamentalist Islam on his website, “Mukto-Mona” or “Free Mind.” He wrote articles on scientific reasoning and religious extremism of all kinds, not just Islam. He and his wife Rafida Ahmed were living in Atlanta, Georgia and went to Dhaka to attend a book fair when he was killed. His wife tried to fend off the machete-wielding assailants and was injured herself, but survived. She has since returned to the U.S.
Daily Mail, 2-27-15 (Rafida Ahmed standing over her husband’s body)
The extremists said that Roy was singled out because he was a U.S. citizen, and they sought “revenge” for U.S. attacks on ISIS in Syria.
Monika Ammerman, a friend of Roy’s daughter Trisha wrote a tribute to him, aptly entitled “Words Cannot be Killed.”
It’s hard to put into words my feelings surrounding these brutal killings. I feel privileged, on the one hand, to be living in the U.S. and fairly confident I won’t be murdered for writing inflammatory posts, but at the same time, the War Against Words has begun in the U.S. too. Do any of us feel truly free to speak our minds, pen our thoughts or expose certain truths, truths that might be considered subversive or threatening to the powers-that-be? I would be lying if I said I did.
I honor those who have died and continue to die and be persecuted for what they believe, in words and in deeds.