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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Bangladesh Crackdown on Atheist Bloggers Intensifies; Four Arrested : Popular Atheist Blogger Stabbed Repeatedly by Suspected Islamist Fundamentalists in Bangladesh



Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? Matthew 5



 

 Bengali atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin

Bangladesh Crackdown on Atheist Bloggers Intensifies; Four Arrested




By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter

April 3, 2013|7:35 pm

Bangladesh authorities have arrested a fourth atheist blogger and charged him with defaming Islam, as part of an effort to clamp down on religious offenses over the Internet.

 

"(Blogger) Asif Mohiuddin has been arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiment through his writings on blogs and Facebook," a police spokesman said, according to ZeeNews.com.

Mohiuddin, 29, is a prominent figure in Dhaka, the capital, and was viciously attacked by Islamists in January, who stabbed him repeatedly when he was leaving work one night, and left him fighting for his life.

The blogger is the fourth atheist to be arrested in two days in Bangladesh, a heavily Muslim country which deems blasphemy a serious offense.

The three other bloggers, including a Dhaka University student, were placed on a seven-day remand for their comments about Islam. Officials say that the men ridiculed Muslims online, which radicals say is punishable by the death penalty.

Hefajat-e Islam, a new Islamic group, has even threatened Dhaka officials with a suicide attack if they interfere with their demands of putting the atheist bloggers to death.

 

 Asif Mohiuddin was attacked in January, 2013 by three men with knives

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised "stern action" against those found to be defaming and exploiting Islam, which has fueled the initiative behind street campaigns against the bloggers.

"It's shame that the government is sacrificing the bloggers to woo voters," Mohiuddin said last week.

AFP reported that Zahida Meherunnesa, Mohiuddin's sister, is worried about her brother's health, who is still recovering from the stabbing.

"Asif did absolutely nothing to deserve this. Even if he had insulted people instead of ideas, he wouldn't have deserved this. This is faith-based madness, and every decent person should stand in his defense. To accuse him of doing anything wrong means supporting his attackers for using violent methods to control non-violent speech," wrote Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist blog about the January attack.

Bangladesh has been locked in an intense conflict between atheist bloggers and Muslim fundamentalists, leading to a series of attacks on atheists, including one deadly incident in February when a blogger was murdered.

 

Popular Atheist Blogger Stabbed Repeatedly by Suspected Islamist Fundamentalists in Bangladesh




By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
January 17, 2013|4:47 pm

An atheist blogger in Bangladesh has been stabbed repeatedly by three suspected Islamist fundamentalists and is currently in critical condition in a local hospital.

Asif Mohiuddin, 29, was attacked earlier this week as he was leaving work at night in Dhaka, when a group of unidentified men jumped him and stabbed him repeatedly. Mohiuddin is one of the nation's most well-known atheists, and runs a Bengali blog titled "Almighty only in name, but impotent in reality," which is one of Bangladesh's most visited websites.

"We operated on him for more than three hours. He is improving but still not out of danger. He has six deep cuts including two grave ones in the shoulder," Haridas Saha, a surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told AFP News agency.

The news has been met with widespread condemnation especially among secularists, who are demanding that the Muslim-dominated country, where Islam is a state religion, do more to protect the human rights of its citizens. Although the perpetrators have not yet been found, many suspect that Mohiuddin's atheist posts and his commentaries on free speech and human right issues are most likely the reason for the attack.

"The nature of the cuts proved that the attackers wanted to murder him," Saha added, revealing that friends of Mohiuddin who were with him at the time of the attack said that Islamic "fundamentalists" were behind the incident.


"Asif did absolutely nothing to deserve this. Even if he had insulted people instead of ideas, he wouldn't have deserved this. This is faith-based madness, and every decent person should stand in his defense. To accuse him of doing anything wrong means supporting his attackers for using violent methods to control non-violent speech," wrote Hemant Mehta, who runs the Friendly Atheist blog.

The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) reported that this is not the first time the Bengali blogger has been targeted. In Oct. 2011, Mohiuddin was arrested and reportedly abused by police who accused him of inciting a student protest through his blog. The activist was allegedly blindfolded, starved, and kept awake as a form of torture, while authorities tried to have him sign a statement pledging never to use social media again.

"We condemn this attack on Asif Mohiuddin and call on authorities to fully investigate and ensure the perpetrators brought to justice," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney.

Bangladesh has often faced condemnation for human right abuses and suppression of free speech. In another infamous case, Humayun Azad, a poet, novelist and literature professor who wrote a number of satirical novels against religious fundamentalism, was attacked by Islamic militants in 2004, and later died in Germany.

A DW blog award winner has been brutally attacked in Bangladesh. Several other prominent Bangladeshi writers have also been attacked in recent years for their stand against extremist Islam in the country.

A blogger from Bangladesh who won a prize at DW's 2012 BOBs competition for Best Social Activism Campaign, Asif Mohiuddin, was attacked earlier this week in Dhaka by three unidentified men near his office in the upmarket Uttara district of the city. He was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for surgery. After a lengthy operation, doctors described his condition as very serious.

"We operated on him for more than three hours. He is improving but still not out of danger. He has six deep cuts including two grave ones in the shoulder," Haridas Saha, a surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told AFP on Tuesday, January 15. "The nature of the cuts proved that the attackers wanted to murder him," Saha continued, adding that friends of Mohiuddin who were with him at the time of the attack accused Islamic "fundamentalists" of the crime.

DW blog award winner attacked in Dhaka


A DW blog award winner has been brutally attacked in Bangladesh. Several other prominent Bangladeshi writers have also been attacked in recent years for their stand against extremist Islam in the country.

A blogger from Bangladesh who won a prize at DW's 2012 BOBs competition for Best Social Activism Campaign, Asif Mohiuddin, was attacked earlier this week in Dhaka by three unidentified men near his office in the upmarket Uttara district of the city. He was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for surgery. After a lengthy operation, doctors described his condition as very serious.

"We operated on him for more than three hours. He is improving but still not out of danger. He has six deep cuts including two grave ones in the shoulder," Haridas Saha, a surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told AFP on Tuesday, January 15. "The nature of the cuts proved that the attackers wanted to murder him," Saha continued, adding that friends of Mohiuddin who were with him at the time of the attack accused Islamic "fundamentalists" of the crime.

Later, in an exclusive Interview, the 29-year-old told DW from his hospital bed that he believed that fundamentalists were probably behind the attack. "My blog posts angered them and they had threatened me couple of times before." Mohiuddin said his three assailants had attacked him from behind and he had not been able to identify them.

Mohiuddin's blog is one of the most read webpages in Bangladesh and is known for its strong criticism of religious fundamentalism. Ninety percent of Bangladeshis are Muslim and a large minority holds very conservative religious views. The title of his blog is - in the eyes of fundamentalists - most provocative. It is called "God, Almighty only in name but impotent in reality." Last July he made fun of Muslims and the Koran in a widely-read satirical piece entitled "the mass conversion of supermen to Islam," which outraged many on the far right.

'Bloggers like him attacked, killed or injured much too often'

Ute Schaeffer, DW's editor-in-chief, expressed deep concern about the incident: "Asif Mohiuddin is one of the voices against Islamist extremists in Bangladesh. He is one of those brave people who expose wrongdoings around the world and stand up against hatred and oppression. Bloggers like him are attacked, killed or injured much too often, because they fight for basic rights. We just cannot accept this."

Meanwhile, Mohiuddin's family has expressed concern about his safety because he is not under police protection at the hospital. His sister, Juella Zabunessa Khan, told DW that "We did not get any support from the government and police yet. But we need support from police for the safety of my brother. He can be attacked again, because they (attackers) want to kill him."

Several other prominent Bangladeshi writers have also been attacked in recent years for their stand against extremist Islam and Islamic groups. The most famous case was that of Humayun Azad, a poet, novelist and literature professor. Back in 2004, he sustained severe injuries when he was attacked by members of an outlawed Islamic militant group angry about a satirical novel he had written. He later died in Germany.