His blood!

One of the most brilliant humanist writers was brutally killed by Islamists in Bangladesh last night. 24 hours passed. Nobody has been arrested. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has not uttered a word condemning the murder of Avijit Roy.

His wounded wife and others were trying to take him to a hospital last night.
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He was declared dead at 10.30 pm.
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His glasses and a piece of his brain were seen floating in his blood.
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His blood was wiped off today.
BANGLADESH-DHAKA-MURDER

Bangladeshi Islamists have been killing atheist and humanist bloggers and writers.

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Dr. Avijit Roy was hacked to death last night by Islamic terrorists. He was lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood having been viciously attacked, while his wife was asking passers-by for help.

Avijit’s crime was that he wrote some books on science, reason, atheism, evolution, humanism and homosexuality. He also provided hundreds of freethinkers a platform to freely express their views.

Some of his very valuable books:

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Free thinker humanist Avijit Roy was killed by Islamic terrorists today.

Avijit Roy (42) was an engineer, science writer, blogger, atheist, feminist, humanist, human rights activist, courageous defender of reason and free speech, and the founder of Mukto-Mona free-thought blogging site for Bengali and South Asian freethinkers. He lived in the USA, but arrived in Bangladesh to attend the inauguration ceremony of his new books at the national book fair in Dhaka. After the ceremony tonight, he and his wife left the book fair at around 8.30 pm.

On their way home, and not far from the book fair, Islamic fanatics hacked Avijit to death. His wife has been severely injured.

Avijit’s father, Dr Ajoy Roy, is a former professor of physics at the Dhaka university. He is also a writer and free thinker.

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Avijit Roy was an extraordinarily talented person. He dedicated his life to enlightening those who live in the darkness of ignorance. I knew him since the mid ’90s. I admired him for his relentless efforts to spread a scientific temperament in the world. It is extremely painful to come to terms with his loss. Bangladesh has become a safe haven for Islamists where they can do whatever they like. They can kill people with no qualms whatsoever. Avijit Roy has been killed the way other free thinking writers were killed in Bangladesh. No free thinker is safe in that country.

My obituary

My obituary.

Bengali writer Taslima Nasreen was beheaded yesterday by Islamist terrorists at her home in New Delhi where she had been living in exile. A video of the decapitation was posted on social media sites this morning.

It was inevitable. Author of 41 books of poetry, essays, and novels, Ms Nasreen, known for her powerful feminist writings against the injustices and inequalities of religions, had to live under a succession of death fatwas. She was forced to leave her country, Bangladesh, in 1994, not long after the publication of her novel Lajja, which she wrote during her duty hours as an anesthetist in Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Despite repeated bans on her books and threats on her life, Ms Nasreen never censored herself. Many people said that she was brave; others called her stupid. Everyone agreed that she was an extremely disobedient woman.

Ms Nasreen once wrote, ‘I am victim of blasphemy laws. These laws provoke people to kill us the blasphemers. There are cases filed against me by governments and religious fundamentalists in India and Bangladesh. But we are the people who are trying to change the society by resisting fundamentalism and advocating secularism.’

An atheist, Ms Nasreen was against all kinds of violence, including the death penalty. Critical of patriarchal systems such as marriage and prostitution, she believed in love, and, in turn, was loved by her readers.

Although she managed to acquire a semblance of domestic normalcy in her New Delhi apartment, Ms Nasreen considered herself “homeless everywhere”. She was never allowed to return to the country of her birth. She was also not allowed to reside in West Bengal where she had lived for four years before her deportation in 2007.

Ms Nasreen, however, had a great sense of humor. It could be sensed in the extremely graphic video of her execution. Bemused with her masked assassin struggling with his rather blunt blade, she asked him to pick up a much sharper knife from her kitchen that she had got from Germany.

Ms Nasreen had donated her body for research to a medical college in Kolkata, but the West Bengal government is reluctant to receive her. Her own country, too, does not want to do anything with her. At the moment, Ms Nasreen is lying unclaimed in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

How they beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians.

They all are dressed up. Victims are forced to wear orange uniforms. ISIS, the followers of Allah and Muhammad are in all black. The commander is in military costumes. They have beheaded 21 Egyption Coptic Christians. Their crime is they are not Muslims. ISIS have been killing innocent people. It is nothing new.

My question is, you are angry with America for bombing Muslim country, for killing Osama Bin Laden, for supporting Israel. Then why don’t you kill Obama or Netanyahu or just both? Why do you choose innocent people to kill? Egypitians inncocent Christians are not responsible for all those bombings and killings.

http://wpc.be1e.edgecastcdn.net/03BE1E/news/2015/02/15/alalam_635596402434878701_25f_4x3.mp4.m3u8

The irresoluble case of political faith

Aam Aadmi Party just razed Bharatia Janata Party (BJP) to the ground on its way to a staggering Delhi polls victory. Only a few paltry months have gone by since the BJP had gained a majority in the Lok Sabha election. And it has already lost out to a brand new political outfit. Many experts already have numerous theories explaining the BJP’s humiliating defeat. Very few of the promises that Modi had made to the people actually got fulfilled. And there is, of course, the infamous case of the Rs 10-lakh suit, which caused quite an outrage. That brought down his popularity quotient by a few notches, indeed. At times, a few false steps can become colossal issues of public debate and resentment.

I was under the impression that Kejriwal’s popularity had also considerably waned after he resigned his position as chief minister. In fact, it would have been quite logical to have that happen. Many leaders of the AAP also left the party out of disappointment over Kejriwal’s juvenile behaviour. It’s true that he had committed a grave error. But he had it in him to accept the error of his ways, apologise, and promise that he would never again repeat this kind of gimmick ever again. The public appreciates an open, honest confession and apology. Moreover, this time, possibly, people who would have otherwise voted for the Congress, voted for AAP because it had seemed to stand a far better chance at defeating the common enemy — the BJP.

I congratulated Arvind Kejriwal on his unwavering principles a few days before the elections when he had firmly rejected the pledge of political support from Delhi’s Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, saying “We don’t need their support.” Not one Indian politicians has ever displayed such bravado. Not even the ones belonging to the hindu right-wing. Most Indian politicians suffer under the belief that minority votes in India need to be won by placating muslim religious leaders. Most Indian muslims have not yet become self-reliant as far as deciding on their own ideology is concerned. Their imams or gurus usually decide for them, and dictate the community’s choice of a political affiliation.

To appease the Shahi Imam of Delhi to ensure his share of minority votes is a practice started by none other than Nehru, right after India became independent. This practice has continued unabated till date. The fact that Kejriwal has won almost all minority votes even after publicly rejecting the Imam’s offer proves that muslim votes can indeed be won without the aid of their imams. Experienced political analysts need to take a few lessons from Kejriwal. Foremost among them is the fact that it is absolutely unnecessary to appease any leader from any religion. Just as the religious leaders are manipulated by the politicians for their own vote-bank strategies, the leaders themselves also exploit these politicians for their own gains. In a country that is ostensibly secular, it is indeed a great tragedy that no politics is devoid of a religious angle, and no religion is complete without its own variety of insidious political game. That, henceforth, Indian politicians would walk the path that Kejriwal has dared to show them is perhaps too much to hope for. All orthodox leaders, whether muslim, hindu or christian, would always take the society a few steps backwards as long as they are allowed to exist. Imams, purohits, peers, babas, mataas — to mollycoddle these elements is to patently provide more energy and encouragement to render our society more ignorant, and more riddled with superstitions and stigmas. These uneducated, misogynistic powers have already learnt how to manouever Indian politicians to serve their less-than-honourable purposes.

Kejriwal had committed this same mistake right before the elections last year. He had visited Tauqueer Raza Khan, a UP-based muslim cleric. A visit of this sort can only mean one thing — the hope that the religious leader shall, out of pity, ensure that his uneducated and politically illiterate followers voted for AAP. I had unequivocally criticised Kejriwal for this move. This Tauqueer Raza Khan is the same man who, in his capacity of a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, had announced a bounty of Rs 5 lakh on my head. The fact that even Kejriwal had to resort to seeking support from this idiotic fatwabaaz, was quite shameful. At the end of the day, he was little more than a mafia-man who promised to pay people money in lieu of having someone murdered. I hope the criticism has stood Kejriwal in good stead. This time, he had rejected the support from orthodox muslim leaders.

The problem usually is that Indian politicians are exceedingly averse to taking such lessons from their past. They find it impossible to take a step outside of the knowledge bequeathed to them by their ancestors. The CPM is another example: they hounded me out of West Bengal in the hope of garnering minority votes in 2007, but unfortunately, they didn’t get what they wanted. If only unjustly harassing an artist could ensure a political party all the minority votes, then it would have made their lives a lot easier. The same applies for Mamata Banerjee. The fact that she doesn’t allow me to set foot in West Bengal has never really ensured that she has minority support in her state. She suffers from the perpetual fear that letting in someone who speaks against religious fundamentalism shall make her lose muslim votes.

I hope the fact that Kejriwal has achieved this hitherto-unthinkable feat of bypassing religious leaders in his bid to sweep an election shall prove to these politicians how unfounded their fears are. He has successfully earned the love and trust of ordinary muslims by proudly relinquishing the help of the fatwa-touting fundamentalist lot. What the minority of this nation need are education, healthcare services, employment opportunities and an increase in their standard of living. The imams are radically opposed to all of these; they’d much rather have them lead a life suffused with superstition, orthodoxy and divisiveness.

The foregone conclusions of faith

The ISIS posted a new video a couple of weeks ago. It made a child kill two Russian spies and video-recorded it for the benefit of the world. The outfit has repeatedly stated its avowed aim: namely, to establish islamic law and an all-encompassing islamic state, where only, and only, Sunni muslims would be allowed to survive. The ones getting murdered are guilty of a very serious crime — they are non-muslims, or even if they are muslims, they are not Sunnis, or, even if Sunnis, do not subscribe to the murderous and insane death-dance the ISIS seems adept at performing.

The most disturbing bit in this entire drama is the fact that the ISIS is completely and utterly unrepentant of having killed numerous innocents. It’s enough for them that they are good muslims who are evidently carrying out orders of their divine messiah and their god. And that their Allah is in turn going to ensure their entry into some elusive behesth. Since they are apparently following the word of their god, their conscience remains clear, with no strains of visible remorse.

What can the world possibly do at this evil hour? The most we can do perhaps is to scream at the top of our lungs, that at least, for the love of god or devil, do not hand weapons to innocent children.

But the brainwashing of children by islamic fundamentalists is not a recent phenomenon. Palestine trains its children in the art of suicide bombing. A few days ago, Nigeria’s Boko Haram tied a bomb to the miniscule body of a 10-year-old and packed him off to a busy marketplace. The child died, of course, taking with him 20 other clueless victims. And thus, numerous children are daily falling unwitting victims to the ambitions of those zealots. Gone are the days when parents had ambitions for higher education for their children; they are instead now subjects of rampant miseducation, maleducation and religious education all over the world, which turn them into dangerous terrorists at this tender age.

On the other hand is the relentless struggle by liberal humanists to discourage practices of religious identity and discrimination among children. So that they do not identify themselves or others, since the earliest stages of their cognitive development, as hindus or muslims or jews or christians. There is no conceivable reason to take it for granted that religion is something genetic — that children born of pious parents have to be believers. In fact, theism itself is not something one should pass on: children are not unconditionally meant to be followers of a certain order. Children are not adequately equipped to decide which faith suits their temperament, and so, it is essential that religion be something that people decide on only when they are informed adults.

Otherwise, the children of this world have little to look forward to than undemocratic systems like the ISIS where science and philosophy have been rendered redundant as educational paradigms for them. Where their right to stay away from brutality and violence has been ended by religious edicts.

In Pakistan, a large number of imams and madrasa teachers took out a rally, replete with slogans and banners, no less. The banners read of eulogies dedicated to the killers at the Charlie Hebdo office, now hailed as supreme heroes fallen to the cause of jihad.

The imams state that they were their ‘brothers.’ In such an event, it was of course their abiding duty to read the funeral prayers for their deceased martyred brothers in Pakistan, as they did. These are the very same imams and madrasa educators that impart ‘education’ to thousands of children.

One wonders, with a vague dread, about the quality of that educational instruction. They must be mouthing the ISIS slogans with all the certainly of the well-ordained. It is so supremely ironical that ISIS or Boko Haram are not outfits who operate freely in a democratic nation, and yet, in a state like Pakistan, followers of ISIS are treading the democratic path with pride and élan. They are, quite legally, supporting the ISIS in public, rallying without state opposition and imparting their principles in masjids and madrasas shamelessly.

They continue to poison many minds with the indoctrination of the sort for which ISIS is today vilified across the globe. They have rights to do so, to manufacture many more jihadis, since in Pakistan, ISIS is not banned. In many other countries as well, the state of affairs is exactly the same.

The world is not untouched by such vicious influences. The muslim fundamentalists are exerting a curious influence on India’s homegrown right-wing. They are, likewise, becoming more intolerant, more violent with each passing day. Perhaps not quite as much as the islamic fanatics, but they seem not very far behind either.

Tamil author Perumal Murugan’s fifth novel, Madhorubhagan, landed him in trouble with hindu fundamentalists, and the issue was raised anew after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Murugan was forced to apologise for and censor his book, his Facebook account was deactivated. The same happened with Rajkumar Hirani’s film PK, which roused a lot of rabble in the hindu fanatics’ quarters.

Cases where they have come up with protests against artistic freedom have pervasively affected painters, writers, filmmakers, cartoonists alike. Granted they haven’t yet gone to the extent of lining up non-hindus and shooting them in the head, but if they are not contained, the day isn’t far when they would become as much of a barbaric threat to the institution of democracy that the muslim terrorists are.

Cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo and me

A few years ago , I was invited to visit Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris. I was bowled over by the work of their brilliant and talented cartoonists. Their struggle for freedom of expression at the risk of their lives is akin to my own struggles. There were fatwas, and there were death threats galore, but they were not deterred. There was pressure and intimidation over the lampooning of Mohammad, but they still carried on. If they were to draw cartoons, they knew they might be murdered, and yet they still drew their cartoons. There was a firebombing at their office, their names appeared on Al Qaeda’s most wanted list, and they still didn’t close their doors. Naturally, I’ve felt at one with their plight. Fatwas, ordinances, exile — nothing could ever silence my voice. Those cartoonists were all such wonderful human beings. They were adept at the art of satire, and they dearly loved a a good laugh. Their philosophy was similar to mine — they absolutely rejected religious fundamentalism, violence and terror. They were, on their part, worried about my safety and security. Since they were inhabiting one of the safest democratic spaces in the world, they didn’t seem very worried about themselves. I hardly could have known then that terrorists would barge into that very office and kill all of them, that there is no country left in the world that is actually safe and secure.

Charlie Hebdo will continue to be published. if it were to shut down or if the artists were intimidated into self-censorship, that would mean victory for the terrorists. I am happy to hear that the next issue, in protest of the massacre, will have a print of one million copies. The continued publication of Charlie Hebdo is a triumph for freedom of expression. It does not require a lot of talent to become a terrorist, to use an automatic weapon and kill innocents. But one can neither become a journalist nor a cartoonist without any talent. The murder of so many talented people by a few insane and barbaric men to please their God and their prophet, in order to get into paradise, is an offense to human decency. This is the way gullible young men and women around the globe are indoctrinated to be pious Muslims!

I have been stunned ever since I heard the cartoonists and journalists at Charlie Hnedo have been killed. I have a feeling that one day, I’ll meet the same fate at the hands of Islamic fanatics. Perhaps I’d be in the middle of finishing a novel or a book of poetry, and they will sneak into my study suddenly to butcher me, or maybe pump a few bullets into my head while screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’. If they could get away with this in a city like Paris, despite the presence of armed security guards, there is no reason for such an incident to not happen where I am staying . Come what may, I shall never be silenced, the way Charlie Hebdo shall never be silenced.

The intellectuals of the Occident have always spoken in favour of Muslims, no matter how much terror Muslims might perpetrate. Perhaps they wish to maintain the western liberal tradition, or maybe their sympathies are drawn to the Muslims who were once colonized by European nations and now form a minority in Europe, or perhaps they are moved by the fate of Muslims persecuted in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine. But the intellectuals working at Charlie Hebdo spared no one. No politician, no religious leader of any denomination, escaped their humour. They made fun of Christianity, Judaism and Islam alike. They would also sometimes lampoon the Prophet Mohammad. Those were intelligent works of art. Some people complain they were provocative. But they have all the right to be provocative, and no one should have the right to kill them for being provocative.

Most people today would stand by Charlie Hebdo. They would criticize the terrorists and claim that their version of Islam is not in the true spirit of the religion, that real Islam does not provide any justification for killing unbelievers. This is, however, completely untrue. Numerous verses in suras like al-bakara, al-Nisa, al-Anfal and al-Tauba of the Quran speak of killing people who have no faith in Islam. There are express commandments to Muslims to kill non-Muslims. Many hadith passages have enumerated instances where Muslims were ordered to murder infidels. The prophet himself had waged many wars. The men from various Arabic tribes were coerced into converting to Islam. He with his soldiers killed 800 Jewish men of the Banu Qurayza tribe, and looted their land and property. He distributed the tribeswomen as spoils of war among the victorious Muslim men to enjoy either as sex objects or slaves. Islam was born of such unspeakable acts of terror. If it weren’t for terror tactics, Islam would have never crossed over the boundaries of Medina. It has been propagated throughout the world through fear, terror, force, tyranny, brutality, murder, torture and bloodshed. It is no wonder that the followers of Mohammad are today following in his footsteps and spreading terror in the whole world. Unlike all other religious orders, Islam is completely impervious to reforms. Islam has been largely exempt from any critical scrutiny that other religions have undergone to modernize them. It has almost remained as primitive as it was 1,400 years ago. The devout followers of Mohammad believe in true Islam, and therefore want to have a quintessential Islamic caliphate established to rule the entire world, which would only be inhabited by true Muslims and no one else. Whoever it is who happens to disbelieve or mock Islam, they reserve the right to do away with that person, exactly like disciples of the prophet did in the seventh century. Islamic terrorist groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab intend to wage this holy war of terror throughout the entire world. All of them have the same ideology. Allah is the one and only true god. Mohammad’s way is the true path of Islam. They do not believe in plurality of thoughts or in democratic principles, relying instead on a theocratic, monolithic version of their medieval belief system.

Islamic fundamentalism is not a negligible problem. If one wants to address this problem, one has to go to the very roots. Preaching principles of freedom of expression won’t do any good. One has to know what mantra makes terrorists tick and influences them to take up arms. Their holy book reeks of violence. This Quran should rather be treated as a historical document than a complete code of life or the basis of laws. It is important to stop indoctrination of children with irrational religious faith at home or institutions like madrasas or mosques. Children should be raised to have logical and rational minds and to adopt a scientific outlook that will enable them to distinguish between right and wrong, fact and fantasy.

I strongly believe that as long as Islam remains unchanged and unreformed, there can be no end to terror.