This is an unfortunate trend that we’re seeing more and more often these days, people who have religious beliefs that differ from the majority, or those who are non-religious, being singled out for violence, simply because they are different. In this case, Avijit Roy, an atheist who was an American but visiting the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka, was hacked to death by a group of fundamentalist Muslims as he and his wife were walking from a local book fair. At least two of the assailants wielded meat cleavers in the attack. Roy’s wife was injured but will survive.
I suppose it’s no surprise that Roy was targeted, he was an avid advocate of secularism and had routinely written articles on his Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona (Free Mind) promoting secular views, science and social issues. For some not-so-strange reason, Muslim extremists are very unhappy with that. It is comforting, I suppose, that there was such a large groundswell of support in Dahka following Roy’s murder, although I’m sure his family just wishes he was still alive.
It is somewhat ironic that Roy had written an article about religious extremism, calling it a “highly contagious virus”. He’s written a paper on the subject called The Virus of Faith which is available through the CFI website. He’d had threats from radical Muslims who said “Avijit Roy lives in America and so, it is not possible to kill him right now. But he will be murdered when he comes back.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. One cannot underestimate the violence of radical Muslims.
Unfortunately, his case is not unique, extremist Muslims have targeted atheist bloggers in and around Bangladesh in the past. In 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed in Bangladesh in a way hauntingly familiar to Roy’s death. Atheist author Taslima Nasreen had to flee Bangladesh for the United States when she was similarly threatened in the mid-90s. She wrote that “Avijit Roy has been killed the way other free thinker writers were killed in Bangladesh. No free thinker is safe in Bangladesh. Islamic terrorists can do whatever they like. They can kill people with no qualms whatsoever.”
Welcome to Islam, the religion of pieces… um, I mean peace. That’s what lands it on Horror Show Wednesday.