Atheists neither need nor want martyrs, so could the mindless fanatics of the world please stop creating them? Niloy Neel has been hacked to death with machetes in Dhaka.
Imran H Sarkar, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, told the BBC that Mr Neel had been an anti-extremist voice of reason.
“He was the voice against fundamentalism and extremism and was even a voice for minority rights – especially women’s rights and the rights of indigenous people,” he said.
He was on a list — these murderers have a long list of people they intend to kill, Neel knew about it, and had complained of being in fear for his life to the police. They did nothing.
All four men killed were on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.
It was originally submitted to the government with the aim of having the bloggers arrested and tried for blasphemy. The groups which wanted bloggers arrested told us they have no knowledge of who is behind the killings.
There is also a more complex backdrop to the killings. Islamic groups label all these bloggers “atheists” – and many did indeed use the internet to criticise those who believe in God.
But in fact, not all the bloggers were atheists. What they did have in common was they were part of a wider, secular movement that took to the streets in protest in 2013.
I am so glad that Taslima got out, but that still leaves almost 80 people living under the threat of butchery in Bangladesh.