“Because he humiliated my Prophet”

The Australian has more on Bangladesh’s way with atheist bloggers:

Of his part in the gruesome ­machete murder on Monday of a Bangladeshi blogger — the ­second in five weeks — Jikrullah, a 20-year-old madrassa student offered only this as explanation: “I stabbed him because he humiliated my Prophet”.

In a country at war with itself over whether to identify first as a nation of Bengalis or as a Muslim state, that — it seems — for many is explanation enough.

Jikrullah made an eight-hour road trip from Chittagong in ­Bangladesh’s south east corner on Sunday to join two other seminary students in the Monday attack on Washiqur Rahman…

Because Rahman “humiliated” a man who’s been dead for 14 centuries. Humans your petty little passions and devotions aren’t worth killing people over. I love sunsets, but I don’t get to kill people who prefer to watch tv.

For many Bangladeshi writers Rahman’s death, five weeks after a similar fatal attack on blogger Avijit Roy, is a terminal blow to free speech in a country that fought a brutal war with Pakistan for the right to independence and a secular constitution.

Bangladeshi feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, forced into exile in 1994 over death threats following the publication of her book Lajja and now living in New Delhi, posted a series of angry tweets in the hours after his death including gruesome pictures of Rahman’s body, lying in a pool of blood where he was felled.

“Look how Islamists killed free thinker Washiqur Rahman Babu. Islamists claim ‘Islam is a religion of peace’,” she tweeted.

She knows they would do that to her if they could.

More than 100 people have been killed in recent clashes ­between supporters of the nominally secular government under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Bangladesh Awami Party and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Khaleda Zia who boycotted last year’s general elections and has since called for fresh elections to be held.

But an editorial in the Dhaka Tribune said the latest murders fit a pattern of attacks over the past decade in which “15 academics and writers had been murdered in similar circumstances … for their views on religion”, and warned more would follow unless the ­government ended a culture of impunity for those who “praise threaten or incite violence”.

“Failure to do so only emboldens individuals who are minded to carry out such acts,” it said.

But they also don’t mind being executed, because they think they’re going to paradise.


  1. says

    The Australian’s report seems to be behind a paywall.

    The situation becomes even more chilling when you consider the situation as reported in Bangla news channels.
    1. These three assailants did not know Washiqur, did not know of Washiqur, and didn’t even know how he looked like, where he lived and what he had done to warrant the wrath of the fundies.

    2. These three assailants didn’t even know each other. They are students of Islam, in their middle to late 20s. Of the two who have been captured, one (Zikrullah) is a student of a Madrassah in Chittagong, the main seaport in southern Bangladesh, and the other (Ariful) is a student of another Madrassah (under same management) in a district in more centrally located Dhaka. The distance between the two is about 180 miles, but because of the terrain, by road the journey from one to the other takes about 6 hours. They must have been motivated enough to make that journey.

    3. The same person called all three of them to Dhaka. He explained to them that Washiqur had to be killed because he had insulted Islam and the Prophet. He brought the trio to Washiqur’s locality and pointed out his house, as well as familiarized them with a photo of Washiqur. They had detailed discussions on the daily routine of Washiqur and the pathway he follows to work. Next, he gave three machetes (“choppers”) to the three of them and told them to go ahead.

    I don’t know what kind of hold this person had on the three, but apparently, his words were good enough. The captured two have stated that they belong to no religious or fundamentalist organization. They committed this horrific act simply at the behest of that person, the organizer, and they showed no trace of remorse – something I cannot wrap my head around.

    What kind of hold can one human have on another human, so that the latter can – without compunction – go and commit an act of ultimate violence, murder, upon a stranger? The obvious parallel that comes to my mind is soldiers, who sometimes go to foreign lands and wage war on people – doing exactly as they are instructed by their commanding officers, without question or dissent. These three assailants seem very soldierly in that respect. But what war are they fighting? What do they represent? If religion or religious belief supplies the kindling that can burst into flames of murderous violence, how does that religion claim to be a philosophy or practice of “peace”?

  2. brett says

    But they also don’t mind being executed, because they think they’re going to paradise.

    I wonder about that. When Islamic terrorists get grabbed in the US, they always take the life sentence deal to avoid execution in exchange for pleading guilty. I wonder if it’s the same in Bangladesh.


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