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Washiqur Rahman’s Facebook banner declares “#IamAvijit”, after the leading secular and humanist blogger, Avijit Roy, who was murdered a month ago in Bangladesh.

Washiqur babu

Washiqur Rahman

This morning Washiqur Rahman himself was killed in similar circumstances: a machete attack by assailants on the streets of Dhaka. The brutal attack took place close to Rahman’s home. Police have reportedly taken two men into custody who were detained at the scene.

Bob Churchill, Director of Communications at the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) comments: “We are deeply saddened that yet another rationalist voice has been so brutally silenced in this vile backlash against atheist bloggers. Our thoughts are with Washiqur’s family and we stand in solidarity with the many individual thinkers and writers from Bangladesh who exercise their right to discuss religion — Islam in particular — frankly and critically. This is a human right, freedom of expression, and it should be respected and protected in Bangladesh, as it should be respected and protected everywhere.”

Asif Mohiuddin, who was also the victim of a machete attack in 2013, but survived and now lives abroad, described Washiqur on his Facebook page as a “humanist” and a true wit. He told the IHEU: “He was a good friend. We spent hours over tea discussing blogs a few years ago. He had a great sense of humor, his satires were amazing. I named him the George Carlin of Bangladesh! Personally he was very polite, a nice human being. He wanted with all his heart, a true secular country, where everyone can practice their freedom.”

Arifur Rahman, another fellow Bangladeshi atheist blogger, saw Washiqur recently at a social meetup. Washiqur was “a soft spoken personality,” says Arifur, and “his writing was very good. He was… careful, but that did not save him… The culture of impunity that has spread over the last few years clearly has very damning results. It is now the consensus inside Bangladesh, be it silent or spoken, that ‘if you drop an atheist in the open street, nothing will happen to you, you will be treated as a hero.’ The word ‘Nastik’ (atheist) has been vilified in Bangladesh (and the rest of the Muslim world); they are seen as sub-human, it is OK to kill them.”

Washiqur’s writing

Washiqur also used the hashtag #WordsCannotBeKilled, introduced by Avijit Roy’s daughter following her father’s murder. In that vital spirit, we share some words from Washiqur Rahman.

Mild-mannered in person, Washiqur’s satire could be bitingly incisive and insightful. Writing a 52 episode series for (a satirical Bengali site), called “Jaw-crushing answers to insulting comments of atheists” (see: questions 1-20, questions 21-40) he enumerated questions raised by critics about Islam, alongside answers commonly given to them, but paired the questions together in order to highlight how the answers are very often in tension, or contradict each other entirely. For example:

Insulting comment 21: Islam is claimed to be ‘the best and the complete way of life’. Does that mean that slavery is valid for eternity?

Jaw-crushing answer: See, Islam is a humane religion. Slavery was not forbidden because of the situation of that time. But there scope for ‘qiyas and ijma’ (consensus and reconsideration) in Islam. That means any custom can be abolished

Insulting comment 22: Why then Muslims are not agreeing to equal inheritance for girls through ‘qiyas and ijma’.

Jaw-crushing answer: See, Islam is a ‘perfect and complete way of life’. Its ‘codes of life’ has been formulated for the overall welfare of humanity. Islam has basically given women the highest honor. But you want to abolish the laws of Allah for the sake of inconsequential earthly benefits. This is not acceptable.

For Bangaldesh’s Independence Day, he wrote a poetic lament about which sections of society really are liberated, and those which are not. The piece reveals many wider social justice concerns, alluding to the apparent immunity from prosecution faced by some garment factory owners, and the injustices faced by many of the poorest in society:

আজ বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা দিবস।

মোল্লা স্বাধীন, জঙ্গি স্বাধীন, ছাগু স্বাধীন, মুমিন স্বাধীন, দুর্নীতিবাজ স্বাধীন, রাজনৈতিক নেতা স্বাধীন, পাতি নেতা স্বাধীন, ধর্ষক স্বাধীন, সামরিক বাহিনী স্বাধীন, সুশীল সমাজ স্বাধীন, পিনাকী স্বাধীন, শফি হুজুর স্বাধীন, দলদাস স্বাধীন, গার্মেন্টস মালিক স্বাধীন, লঞ্চ মালিক স্বাধীন…

স্বাধীন নয় কৃষক-শ্রমিক,
স্বাধীন নয় কথিত সংখ্যালঘু-আদিবাসী,
স্বাধীন নয় মুক্তচিন্তার মানুষ,
স্বাধীন নয় মানুষ হতে চাওয়া মানুষগুলো…

Today is Bangladesh’s liberation day

The Mullah has freedom, extremists have freedom, Muslims have freedom, the corrupt have freedom, political leaders have freedom, adulates of the political leaders have freedom, rapists are free, the armed forces are free, so-called civil society is free, intellectuals who support Islamists, they also have freedom, religious leaders have freedom, the garment factory owners have freedom, the ferry owners have freedom.

Not free: the farmers and labours
Not free: indigenous people and minorities
Not free: Freethinkers
Not free: All the people who just want to be human…

Known on Facebook as Washiqur Babu, Rahman also blogged at Shocholayoton and posted at an online message board called Logical Forum. Washiqur Rahman is also a pseudonym and we’re not using his full given name on advice.

More News from IHEU

6 Responses to Another atheist blogger murdered in Bangladesh this morning

  1. baloch says:

    Its really shocking that secualrism,libralism and freedom is being killed brutally by religious savages,i dare to codemn this act of barbarism of islamist.Free thought,freedom,humanity,free speech,right of speech can,t be ever never can be stop by force.We shall continue it,because its our basic human rights,we shall not surrender at all.

  2. Mubarak Bala says:

    Wasiq’s words will never be extinguished, the problem with the world today about Islam is Islam’s capital punishment & lust for blood, for any criticism meted out. The doctrine is built upon violent reactionism to any rational question & empirical debate. One word at a time, we all have to make a stand, against barbarism. This way, we honor those that fall… As we march on, against the wave… Rest well, brother!

  3. Mahbub says:

    This is very much unfortunate. But, we who are in Bangladesh, will never stop talking, writing for Humanism – humanity.
    Be in peace.

  4. Salman Rahman says:

    Detained killers have said, “Neither we know what is blog, nor did we read what he wrote. Hujur (Islamic religious teacher) said he was an anti-Islamic. It’s a faithful duty to kill him. And for fulfilling that faithful duty, we have killed Washikur.”

    Procession of death lingers. No place for freethinkers in Bangladesh. Those who still remain alive are awaiting to join procession. World doesn’t care yet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please create enormous pressure on the Bangladesh Govt to bring these human look a like beasts to justice. Govt is unwilling to bring the previous free-thinkers’ killers to justice to avoid going against their beloved religion and hence the criminals are getting away with repeated murders. We cannot just seat with doing nothing. Most importantly, if unchallenged, Bangladesh will soon be full of jihadists – one would be surprised if that goes out of control to create a new Boko haram/Al-Shabaab/IS type organisation in Bangladesh. This danger is always there because the religious Madrasas are spreading ever-increasingly with Saudi’s/Mid East’s petro dollars’ patronise, which are usually the sympathy base and originator of jihadists. The main teaching of those Madrasas is to memorise religious Arabic texts without understanding, total hatred against non-Muslims and intolerance of other opinions that encourage violent actions. Is there any way to raise this issue internationally? All free-thinking lovers should come up forward to this cause. This webpage publication is not at all enough, we must think of doing much more else due to Saudi’s hypocritical policy most religious countries (particularly Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan) will be seen under Jihadists/Extremists rule soon.

  6. Suraiya Ferdous says:

    This is outrageous! Such a loss! Such young intelligent human beings are getting killed by idiots. It’s absolutely vital to think new ways of dealing religious idiots. I am not yet sure what it would be but this is absolutely unnecessarily inhumane!

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