Friday, 27 February 2015

American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

A prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger from Alpharetta was hacked to death, and his wife seriously injured, as they walked Thursday night through Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka, police said.

The attack on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen known for speaking out against religious extremism, occurred on a crowded sidewalk as he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University.

Ahmed, who is also a blogger, was critically injured when she tried to save her husband, according to the Prothom Alo newspaper. She was transferred from Dhaka Medical College Hospital to Square Hospital, where she is listed in stable condition, the newspaper reported.

Ahmed and Roy have lived in Alpharetta’s Bethany Creek subdivision since 2008, according to online records.

Roy, 42, was the founder of a popular Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona, or Free Mind, which features articles on scientific reasoning and religion. A simple message was posted on the blog’s website early Friday: “We mourn, but we are not out.”

According to The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit research group that compiles statistics on radical Islamic terrorist groups, Roy had been the target of threats from Islamists over his secular views.

He and his wife were in Dhaka to attend an annual national book fair where two of Roy’s works were being promoted.

About 8:45 p.m. Thursday, a group of men ambushed the couple as they walked toward a roadside tea stall, with at least two of the attackers hitting them with meat cleavers, Dhaka police Chief Sirajul Islam said.

Two blood-stained cleavers were found at the scene after the attackers disappeared into the crowds.

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