Four down. Eighty to go.
That is according to the list of eighty-four “atheist bloggers” created by Islamist groups in 2013 and distributed with the aim of having these people arrested for blasphemy. When the Bangladeshi government would not arrest innocent people, Islamist extremists began taking matters into their own hands. Literally.
In less than six months, four secular bloggers have been attacked and killed by machete-wielding men in Bangladesh. The first and most prominent this year was Avijit Roy, who was attacked on the streets of Dhaka with his wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, in February. Roy founded a blog critical of religion that brought freethinkers, atheists, and the like of Bengali descent together. The most recent (as we went to press) was Niloy Neel, who was brutally slaughtered in his own home while his wife was confined in another room. Neel often discussed religion on Facebook and helped found the Bangladesh Rationalist Society. Six men entered Neel’s home under false pretenses of becoming tenants. Two of them then took Neel into a room and beheaded him with machetes. Police had previously ignored Neel’s reports claiming that his life was in danger. The Islamic group al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for all four killings.