In 2015, several secularist writers and activists in Bangladesh were slaughtered by Islamist radicals, beginning with Center for Inquiry (CFI) ally and Free Inquiry author Avijit Roy, in a campaign of terror targeting critics of Islam. Now, that campaign has claimed its first victim of 2016, twenty-eight-year-old law student and activist Najimuddin Samad. Samad had been organizing campaigns advocating secularism on Facebook, and he had criticized the Bangladeshi government’s unwillingness to maintain law and order. On April 7, he was attacked on the street with machetes and shot.
CFI grieves Samad’s death and is outraged that yet another murder has occurred. CFI’s Freethought Emergency Fund has helped many secularists in countries such as Bangladesh to relocate if they believe their lives to be in danger. But the government of Bangladesh must take serious action to protect its people and their rights. In CFI’s official response to this latest attack, United Nations Representative Michael De Dora said, “These murders keep happening because they are allowed to happen, leaving writers and activists like Samad, Avijit, and the other victims as the only ones willing to stand up to those fomenting this violence.”
CFI extends its sincere condolences to Samad’s family and friends.
— The Editors