On Monday, Xulhaz Mannan, a gay rights advocate and editor of the first and only LGBT magazine in Bangladesh was brutally stabbed to death.

Even though the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for this, the Bangladeshi branch of Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the same attack. Now, the terrorist group accountable  for the killing of Mannan and his friend, who were brutally hacked to death, remains a mystery.

Ansar-al-Islam, which is part of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, claimed responsibility through a Twitter message on Tuesday. Ansar called the deadly stabbing as a ‘blessed attack’ on Mannan and his friend Majumder. Ansar-al-Islam went on to say they were targeting both men because they were pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality. This has indeed raised doubts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina repeating assurances that authorities have the security situation under control.

Editor Xulhaz Mannan of LGBT first Bangladeshi magazine was brutally killed on Tuesday yet both terrorist groups IS and Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for the murder. Credit: IOL
Editor Xulhaz Mannan of LGBT first Bangladeshi magazine was brutally killed on Tuesday yet both terrorist groups IS and Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for the murder. Credit: IOL

At first, the Prime Minister pointed the finger at her political opponents, the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami group and its ally, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. It’s worth noticing that this happened just hours before Al Qaeda claimed responsibility of this so-called blessed attack.

Minhaz Mannan Emon, Mannan’s brother, this Tuesday on the funeral said that “his brother stressed that free speech was a right that Islam should always seek to protect.

“A true Muslim will always consider that he has freedom of expression. We should respect that opinion…Particularly I, on behalf of the family, hope that no other family loses their child or brother like us in the future.”

Al-Qaeda’s or IS’s responsibility?

On Tuesday, the attackers responsible for the death of both Mannan and Majumder were seen chanting “Allah Hu Akbar” as they were leaving the scene. The expression means ‘God is great’ and is a well-known Islamic phrase. The chant is also called Takbir in Arabic, also meaning ‘God is greater’ or ‘God is greatest’.

Momtaz, who is an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of the police, was injured while trying to stop the escaping killers, but right before he managed to snatch the bag from one of them.

Right after visiting the crime scene, DMP Commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia claimed that they found ‘important evidence’ from that bag. Also, a police official only said they have found several items, including a mobile phone in the bag but no-one from the law-enforcing agency would give further details about what else might be found. One of the witnesses, a woman who asked to not be named, said that she saw about five to seven youths leaving the house.

“Some others chased them. They fled shouting ‘Allah Hu Akbar’ through the Tentultala playground,” said the woman.

She also said that she saw the youths, carrying the laptop bags, firing from the guns while running away.

Worldwide reaction to the terrorists’ allegations 

Gayle Smith, Administrator at the USAID, stated that Mannan was the kind of person who was up to fight for what he believed in. The USAID is an American government agency that manages humanitarian assistance abroad and foreign aid, where Mannan used to work as well. Smith added that Mannan was someone ready to stand up for his own rights and the rights of others.

Also Amnesty International’s South Asia director Champa Patel said that “The brutal killing of an editor of an LGBTI publication and his friend, days after a university professor Karim Siddique, who was hacked to death because he was “calling to atheism”, underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country”.

Source: Dhaka Tribune