Sometimes a story comes along that just leaves you shaking your head. Why on Earth would it have to even come to this, here’s what went down:
The Constitution of Bangladesh, the small Asian country of 170 million, 90 percent of whom are Muslim, mandates official recognition of all faiths, including Christians who represent less than 1 percent of the population, but that provided no protection for the 27-year-old law student who posted on his Facebook profile page: “I have no religion.”
Fundamental Islamists view a statement like that to be an attack against their faith deserving death.
Nazimuddin Samad was ambushed, cornered, slashed and shot on Thursday by men shouting “Allahu Akbar,” making him the apparent seventh victim of Muslim fundamentalists in that country since 2015 who have targeted bloggers and publishers for criticizing Islam.
The previous murders featured the same modus operandi, as when machete-wielding Muslims attacked American-Bangladeshi writer, Avijit Roy, and his wife at an annual book fair in Dhaka in February 2015.
Samad attended law school at night and witnesses said he was accosted by between three to six men armed who “surrounded him and began hacking him,” until he fell to the ground when the Muslims shot him before blending into a crowd of bystanders.
He was one of many writers and academics who have openly advocated secularism, and argued against “religious fundamentalism, war crimes, minority issues, corruption and injustice against women,” according to online activist, Imran Sarker.
A childhood friend and fellow blogger said Samad had feared for his life in the past year, even going into hiding at one point, saying in a post, “I am also scared … scared of getting killed. But what else can I do? It’s better to die rather than living by keeping my head down.”
Many argue that the surge in violence directed at Christians and non-Muslims comes as war crimes trials stemming from the country’s battle for independence in 1971 are finally taking place, holding Islamists responsible for collaborating with the Pakistan occupation army at the time.
Militant Muslims have compiled a list of 84 “atheists” in the past three years, with ISIS taking credit for attacks on members of religious minorities, including Christians and Hindus, while members of the Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh militant group were arrested for assaulting an Italian Catholic priest.
Source: LA Times