“All over the world, the nonreligious are growing in number faster than ever before. Nonbelievers are not only valuable contributors to society; they also constitute a large fraction of the world’s intellectual and academic community. Whether it is a courageous sixteen-year-old from Rhode Island or a group of individualistic bloggers on the other side of the world, we should never belittle the endeavors of bold human beings to create rational, secular, and freethinking communities.” – Avijit Roy and Trisha Ahmed, “Freethought Under Attack in Bangladesh,” 2013Humanist, secular, atheist writer Avijit Roy and his wife, writer Rafida Ahmed Banna, were attacked with cleavers on the street this week, presumably by Islamists, after emerging from a book fair. She suffered serious injuries, and he later died.
The BBC reports on the attack and the situation in Bangladesh:
Taslima Nasreen, a freethought blogger in exile from the country, has posted some pictures of the moments after the horrific attack, which I link to because I think they’re important, if terrible, to see.
The Center for Inquiry has published a statement on their colleague’s murder, where they also make available Roy’s article in the upcoming issue of Free Inquiry:
We at the Center for Inquiry are shocked and heartbroken by the brutal murder of our friend Dr. Avijit Roy in Bangladesh, it is speculated at the hands of Islamic militants. Dr. Roy was a true ally, a courageous and eloquent defender of reason, science, and free expression, in a country where those values have been under heavy attack….His daughter Trisha Ahmed has written on Facebook:
My dad was a prominent Bengali writer, most famous for his books about science and atheism. He and my mom went to Bangladesh last week to publicize his books at Bangladesh’s national book fair. 15 hours ago, Islamic fundamentalists stabbed my dad to death. My mom was severely wounded from the attack and is still in the hospital. His death is headline news in Bangladesh.
The reason I’m sharing this is less for me and more for my dad. He was a firm believer in voicing your opinion to better the world.
He and my mom started dating when I was six years old. In the twelve years that followed, he became my friend, my hero, my most trusted confidante, my dance partner (even though we’re both terrible dancers), and my father. Not once did he tell me to simmer down or be more polite; he taught me to be informed, bold, and unafraid.
To say that I’m furious or heartbroken would be an understatement. But as fucked up as the world is, there’s never a reason to stop fighting to make it better. I’ll carry the lessons he taught me and the love he gave me forever. I love you so much, Dad. Thank you for every single thing
What would help me the most right now is if everyone (even people I’ve never met) could share his story. His story should be heard in the US because Bangladesh is powerless; it’s corrupt, there is no law and order, and I highly doubt that any justice will come to the murderers. I want his story to be on US headline news, not only Bangladesh’s. If you could just do all you can to spread word of what’s happened, I would appreciate it so so much. Inform your schools, your communities, write all that you can. Please don’t allow my dad to die in vain.
Please use your influence to help bring some sort of justice to the atrocious acts that have been committed against my parents.