This is sickening and deeply upsetting news.
Per a report in The New York Times, a pair of machete-wielding attackers swooped down Thursday night at a book fair in Bangladesh’s capital on author-blogger Avijit Roy, 42, and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, 45. He died as a result of the attack; she remains in critical condition. From the article:
Roy was a prolific writer on secularism and condemned religious extremism, particularly through his blog, Mukto-Mona, the Bengali words for Free Mind. He also wrote on the website of the Center for Inquiry, an organization based in the United States dedicated to humanist thinking and critiques of religion.
The Times report references a ‘recent article’ by Roy for the Center, but that item has in fact not yet been officially published. “The Virus of Faith,” which will appear in the April/May issue of the Center’s Free Inquiry publication and addresses reaction to the release of Roy’s 2014 book Biswasher Virus, is very sadly prophetic:
The death threats started flowing to my email inbox on a regular basis, he wrote, describing reaction after the book came out. One extremist, he wrote, “issued death threats to me through his numerous Facebook statuses.” In one, the extremist wrote: “Avijit Roy lives in America and so it is not possible to kill him right now. But he will be murdered when he comes back.”
Roy, a U.S. citizen, was born in Bangladesh. Read the Center For Inquiry’s statement here.
In December, Roy began a Mukto-Mona blog post with this quote from Salman Rushdie: “Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms.” RIP.
Photo via: Center For Inquiry