Bangladesh (a.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known As East Pakistan), officially known as the People's Republic of Bangladesh (actually has nothing to do with communism) is a country in South Asia. During British rule in India, Bangladesh was the most prosperous part of India. However,
mismanagement hatred by (The Artist Formerly Known As West) Pakistan (prior to Bangladesh's initial name) and corruption since have made it one of the poorest places on earth, though recently it has experienced substantial industrialization and development.
It gets hit by natural disasters fairly often, generally of the monsoon variety. And, when it gets hit, it gets hit hard. Unfortunately, due to its location in a low, swampy delta, the country is highly vulnerable to climate change and the melting of the icecaps. As though that weren't bad enough, the funnel shape of the Bay of Bengal and the gentle slope of both the offshore seabed and the onshore land produce large storm surges from cyclones that cover large areas of some of the most densely-populated low-lying real estate in the world. Bangladeshi death tolls from cyclones have many times reached into the tens of thousands; at least 7 cyclones are known to have each killed over 100,000 people and rendered millions homeless, and one in 1970 killed at least 500,000. For comparison, the most deadly hurricane ever to strike the U.S. killed around 8,000 people.
2013 persecution of atheists
In April 2013, four atheist bloggers were arrested by the local police and charged with defaming Islam and the prophet Muhammad online. The court ruled against the charges and all bloggers were released.
Assassination of atheists and secularists
Atheists and secularists in Bangladesh are the the most obvious targets of assassination since 2013 because there is a de facto public hit list of 84 bloggers accused of blasphemy. The campaign likely also includes assassinations of Shiite Muslims, Hindus and non-Muslim foreigners. Authors have been killed for writing books promoting atheism, freethought, rationalism, skepticism, scientific viewpoint and anything else deemed "anti-Islamic propaganda".
On February 27, 2015, atheist writer Avijit Roy was hacked to death in Dhaka by two machete-wielding Islamists. Roy was "the second Bangladeshi blogger to have been murdered in two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004." The government reacted to the murder by arresting some atheist bloggers.
Roy was one of 4 atheist bloggers who have been assassinated since 2013, and there appears to be a pattern to the murders which all have the same modus operandi. The group "Hefajat-e-Islam, published a list of 84 bloggers whom they accused of blasphemy and demanded they be punished."
On March 30, 2015, blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu was murdered by 3 men with meat cleavers. Two of the 3 men were captured by bystanders. The men said that they were students of Islamic schools and ordered to commit the attack.
On May 12, 2015, atheist activist and science magazine editor Ananta Bijoy Das was murdered. Al Qaeda on the Indian subcontinent claimed responsibility.
On August 7, 2015, atheist blogger Niloy Neel was hacked to death in Dhaka by suspected Islamist militants.
On October 31, 2015, secular book publisher Faisal Arefin Deepan was hacked to death. Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility.
On April 23, 2016, Rezaul Karim Siddique, an English professor at the University of Rajshahi was slain by two men with machetes. The Islamic State claimed responsibility, alleging that the professor was "calling to atheism". The Islamic State recently endorsed the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, which may have actually been responsible.
On April 24, 2016, five or six assailants hacked to death a leading gay rights activist, Julhas Mannan (also transcribed as Xulhas and Zhulhas), the editor of Rupban, Bangladesh's first magazine for the LGBT community. They attacked him and a friend with sharp weapons.
- Bangladesh arrests three atheist bloggers
- Atheist bloggers face prison in Bangladesh
- Bangladesh bloggers: Clear pattern to killings by Sabir Mustafa BBC News (May 12, 2015).
- Gay magazine editor murdered in Bangladesh by Ruma Paul (Last updated 09:39, April 26 2016) Stuff (New Zealand).
- An Atheist from Bangladesh Reflects on The God Delusion and His Slaughtered Colleagues
- Prime Minister faces pressure to kill blasphemous bloggers by Safia Yallaoui (April 12, 2013) Western Eye.
- Two students have been sentenced to death in Bangladesh for the killing of an atheist blogger there in 2013 31 December 2015 BBC.
- American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh
- Bangladesh activists protest against US blogger's murder
- Bangladesh blogger Niloy Neel hacked to death in Dhaka (7 August 2015) BBC News.
- Secular Bangladeshi writer killed in the street Sugam Pokharel, Ivan Watson, and Yuli Yang (Updated 4:24 AM ET, Fri April 8, 2016) CNN.
- Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Bangladeshi Professor’s Murder: Machete attack heightens concerns about radicalism’s rise in South Asian country by Syed Zain Al-Mahmood (Updated April 23, 2016 12:15 p.m. ET) Wall Street Journal.
- Gay rights activist killed in Bangladesh in suspected Islamist attack Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:29pm EDT Reuters.