A Secular Publisher Is the Latest Bangladeshi Killed By Suspected Islamist Radicals

TIME magazine reports on the latest attacks in Bangladesh:

A Bangladeshi publisher who worked with the slain writer and blogger Avijit Roy has been murdered in the country’s capital Dhaka, hours after an attack by machete-wielding assailants left another one of Roy’s publishers in critical condition.

Roy, a Bangladeshi-American writer known for his criticism of religion and fundamentalist violence, was hacked to death in Dhaka in February in what was the first of a series of attacks on secular writers and bloggers in the Muslim-majority country this year.

Faisal Arefin Dipan was one of Roy’s local publishers. On Oct. 31, his father Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq discovered his body when he rushed to his son’s office after hearing about an attack earlier in the day on Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, one of Roy’s other publishers.

The article goes on to quote CFI’s Michael De Dora:

Why does the government of Bangladesh allow its own people to live in constant terror of being hacked to death by roving marauders?” Michael De Dora, public policy director at the Center for Inquiry, a U.S. based non-profit that campaigns on free speech issues, asked in a statement issued after Dipan’s death. “How many more of the country’s bravest and brightest lights must be stamped out before the government takes definitive action to protect freedom of expression and the lives of brilliant writers, scholars and activists?”

De Dora also took aim at Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, for “placing blame on the victims for offending religious feelings. The government should immediately strengthen its efforts against terror groups expected to be carrying out these attacks.”

Speaking to TIME in September, Hasina said her government was investigating the blogger killings and reiterated her commitment to a secular Bangladesh, with space for all faiths. But the Prime Minister sent out an uncompromising message to those like Roy who identify with no religion. “Personally, I don’t support it, I don’t accept it. Why not? You have to have your faith. If anybody thinks they have no religion, O.K., it’s their personal view … But they have no right to write or speak against any religion.”

Bangladesh’s bloggers, she added, “should not hurt anybody’s [religious] feeling. When you are living in a society, you have to honor the social values, you have to honor the others’ feelings.”

You can read the full article here.