Beliefs

3 Islamic militant suspects arrested in murders of secular bloggers in Bangladesh

Rafida Ahmed's husband, Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, was killed in the February attack in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. RNS photo by Reuters.
Rafida Ahmed's husband, Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, was killed in the February attack in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. RNS photo by Reuters.

Rafida Ahmed’s husband, Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, was killed in the February attack in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. RNS photo by Reuters.

DHAKA (Reuters)  Bangladesh’s elite forces said on Tuesday they had arrested three suspected Islamic militants, including a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, for masterminding the killings of two secular bloggers in the Muslim-majority nation.

Touhidur Rahman, 58, and two active members of outlawed Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team were arrested in Dhaka on Monday night, said Maksudul Alam, a spokesman for the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) force.

“Rahman is a Bangladeshi origin British citizen and we suspect he is the main planner of the killings of U.S. blogger Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das,” he told Reuters.

In February, machete-wielding assailants killed Roy, 43, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin and critic of religious militancy, and seriously injured his wife and fellow blogger, Rafida Bonya Ahmed.

Das, 33, was hacked to death as he headed to work at a bank in the northeastern district of Sylhet on May 12.

Militants have targeted secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years, while the government has tried to crack down on hardline Islamist groups seeking to make the South Asian nation of 160 million people a sharia-based state.

Last week, police arrested two members of Ansarullah Bangla Team for alleged involvement in the killing of blogger Niloy Chatterjee on Aug. 7, the fourth such killing of an online critic of religious extremism in less than six months, spurring calls by human rights groups for a swift and thorough investigation.

On March 30, Washiqur Rahman, another secular blogger who aired his outrage over Roy’s death on social media, was killed in a similar fashion.

In 2013, religious militants targeted several secular bloggers who led a movement demanding the death penalty for Islamist leaders accused of atrocities in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence. Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed that year near his home in Dhaka.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened an inquiry into war crimes in 2010.

A tribunal has since convicted several senior leaders of an Islamist party, who in 1971 opposed the breakaway of Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, from Pakistan, of various crimes. They denied wrongdoing.

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  • But the murderers hacked people to death due to deeply held religious convictions, which makes it OK, right?

  • Religion = fascism

    Christian: “Execute them” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    Jew: “Slay them in the daylight” – YAHWEH (Deuteronomy)
    Muslim: “Slaughter the infidel wherever you find them” – ALLAH (Surah 9.2)

    Death is the end no matter which god you pick.
    Even the religious seem to know it.

    Get over it. Abandon this ancient nonsense.

  • Max,
    ” Get over it. Abandon this ancient nonsense. ”

    Sometimes, after reading the bad things that religious practices condone or encourage, I’m strongly inclined to agree with you.

    But…this ‘ancient nonsense’ ain’t gonna go away any time soon.

    I think it’s better to continually emphasize the ‘good stuff’ that is embedded within this nonsense.

    Maybe, folks will open their hearts and minds if they hear the ‘good stuff’ repeated often enough.

    Example —
    1. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
    2. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
    3. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
    4. …all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

    Sorry for the redundancy here as I know you’ve read these comments by me before.

    They’re ‘great’ though and the whole world should consider this stuff.

  • @Billysees,

    “They’re ‘great’ though and the whole world should consider this stuff.”

    I think you are awesome, Billysees.
    You are probably a wonderful, empathetic, compassionate person – the sort of person I aspire to be, also.

    Accept one another? Easy! No god is needed.
    But Christ accepted very few: “The way is narrow”

    Don’t pass judgement? Easy – no god is needed.
    But Christ insisted you pass fierce judgement: “Deem them unworthy”

    Be Humble and patient? Easy – no god is needed.
    In the face of nature and in awe of the love I have for my family I am humble.
    But I see not god to be humble to.

    “Live in harmony” – It is easy if you have compassion.
    I do my best and I get along with my neighbors; Men, women, gays, trans, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Hindus every single day.

    I like the philosophy of Billysees. It has very little to do with Christianity.
    It is a lot like my own.

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