An inspiration

A moving statement from CFI yesterday on the murder of Avijit Roy, ally and friend.

* * * UPDATE: Read Dr. Roy’s final article for Free Inquiry, to be published in the upcoming April/May issue: “The Virus of Faith.” [PDF] * * *

We at the Center for Inquiry are shocked and heartbroken by the brutal murder of our friend Dr. Avijit Roy in Bangladesh, it is speculated at the hands of Islamic militants. Dr. Roy was a true ally, a courageous and eloquent defender of reason, science, and free expression, in a country where those values have been under heavy attack.

Dr. Roy was the founder of the website Mukto-mona, an online network of freethinkers of mainly Bengali and South Asian descent, as well as the author of several books, and a contributor to our own magazine Free Inquiry and our Free Thinking blog. When seven Bangladeshi atheist bloggers were arrested for blasphemy in 2013, Dr. Roy worked closely with us to connect us with the bloggers and their families, focus the international community’s attention on the injustice, and help organize and promote protests around the world.

“I cannot overstate how great a loss this is,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s chief UN representative and friend of Dr. Roy. “Avijit was brilliant, yes, and a devoted advocate of free expression and secularism, but also just a very good person. Avijit was an inspiration to countless other freethinkers, in Bangladesh and around the world, and he was an inspiration to me. I valued our friendship deeply, as I valued his contributions to our shared mission. I will miss him, and the global freethought community will feel the impact of his loss. His example will no doubt continue to shine.”

It’s heartbreaking.

The secular government reacted by arresting some atheist bloggers

People in Bangladesh are fighting back.

The couple were on a bicycle rickshaw, returning from a book fair, when two assailants stopped and dragged them on to the pavement before striking them with machetes, local media reported, citing witnesses.

Hundreds of protesters rallied in Dhaka to denounce the murder, chanting slogans including “we want justice” and “raise your voice against militants”.

Imran Sarker, the head of the Bangladesh bloggers’ association, said the protests would continue until those responsible were apprehended. “Avijit’s killing once again proved that there is a culture of impunity in the country,” Sarker told Agence France-Presse. “The government must arrest the killers in 24 hours or face non-stop protests.”

[Read more…]

No action taken

The IHEU on the murder of Avijit Roy and the potentially lethal attack on Rafida Ahmed Bonna.

“Abhijit Roy lives in America and so, it is not possible to kill him right now. He will be murdered when he comes back.”

These were the words of an Islamist activist referring to Avijit (or Abhijit) Roy early last year. The man making the threat, who is well-known to the authorities, has repeatedly and openly talked about wanting to see secular and freethought writers dead, and those under threat have complained that authorities have ignored his threats and incitement, despite his credible links to Islamist extremists and similar murders taking place. [Read more…]

Guest post: For all three luminaries

Originally a comment by Gem Newman on Follow, peasants.

They’re still pestering our group to join. The group’s organizer finally got fed up and said that we wouldn’t, because a lot of these guys were “gross”. That prompted this response from them:

Gross thoughts? I don’t understand.

Is there anyone else in your group I could speak with?

I’ll put it this way. In the last month I’ve traded more than 400 emails with group leaders.

They don’t normally have this much unexplained anger.

I mean, come on, really. How can you be a serious person and have so much hate for all three luminaries? Keep it to one, please!

[Read more…]

Fascinating, tell me more

It’s been a busy day. I’m hoping to help make something happen.

Meanwhile, I got an email from an acquaintance who believes every bit of Republican propaganda he ever hears or reads, no matter how outlandish it may be.

This is today’s consignment of Republican propaganda shameless bullshit:

Image result for bullshit

The word “Dhimmitude” is found in the new health care bill; so what does it mean? [Read more…]

Meet Avijit Roy

A 2007 interview with three members of Mukto-Mona, one of them being Avijit Roy, who was murdered in Dhaka yesterday. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya was badly injured.

Ahmede Hussain

How has Mukto-Mona evolved? Can you please explain the idea behind Mukto-Mona for our readers?

Avijit Roy: Mukto-Mona came into being in the year 2000, with the intention of debating and promoting critical issues that are of the utmost importance in building a progressive, rational and secular society, but usually are ignored in the mainstream Bangladeshi and South Asian media. On 26th May, 2001, I created a Yahoo group under the name Mukto-Mona. A year later, it was developed into a complete web site (www.mukto-mona.com), which, to the best of my knowledge, was the first South Asian Humanist and Rationalist forum on the net. Our aim is to build a society which will not be bound by the dictates of arbitrary authority, comfortable superstition, stifling tradition, or suffocating orthodoxy but would rather be based on reason, compassion, humanity, equality and science.

[Read more…]

More of us killed

This is baaaaaaaaaaaaaad

Blogger and writer Avijit Roy has been killed and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, severely injured when unidentified miscreants hacked them at TSC of Dhaka University on Thursday night.

Avijit, son of former DU teacher Dr Ajay Roy and also the founder of Mukto-mona Blog, and his wife have been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in critical condition immediately after the attack.

Later, he died while undergoing treatment around 10:30pm, said Shahbagh police station OC Sirajul Islam.

This is horrifying.

They’ll kill us all.

DU Proctor Amjad Ali said: “I came to know the writer had been receiving threats from militants because of his anti-communal activism.”

Among the teachers of Dhaka University who rushed to Dhaka Medical College hospital hearing the news of the attack, were Professor Dr Abul Barkat, Professor Anwar Hossain.

Professor Anwar Hossain said the those, who are against the country’s liberation, democracy, free thoughts and attacked Humayun Azad, have perpetrated this.

Liton Nandi, Dhaka University Chhatra Union president, told the Dhaka Tribune they were set to bring a torch procession, protesting the attack and killing in a short time.

We need to get Taslima the hell out of the subcontinent.

Earlier in 2014, online bookstore Rokomari.com stopped selling books by the well-known writer after an Islamic militant issued death threats on Facebook to the website’s owner.

The decision to withdraw his books was prompted by death threats posted to Facebook by Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an Islamist extremist allegedly linked to Jamaat-e-Islami.

Farabi accused Avijit of defaming Islam and the “prophet” Mohammed and accused Rokomari.com chairman Mahmudul Hasan Sohag of “promoting atheism” by selling his books.

In his Facebook post, Farabi specified the office address of Rokomari.com and called upon his “Islamist friends” in the adjacent locality to attack.

He also told Sohag that he would suffer the same fate as Ahmed Rajib Haider, a popular blogger known by the psuedonym Thaba Baba, who was hacked to death last year by machete-wielding Islamic militants.

One by one, they’re picking us off.

 

Guns keep you safe!

Except of course when you accidentally shoot yourself with them and die.

A Michigan woman who fatally shot herself in [the] eye was adjusting her bra holster, police said Wednesday.

The shooting happened at the home of Christina Bond, 55, on New Year’s Day.

“She was having trouble adjusting her bra holster, couldn’t get it to fit the way she wanted it to. She was looking down at it and accidentally discharged the weapon,” St. Joseph Public Safety Director Mark Clapp told the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Well, that’s a shame. But up until that point, she was way extra safe because of that gun! So it balances out in the gun’s favor.