Old Dhaka, Bangladesh – On Thursday, authorities in Bangladesh revealed the identity of a young man who was brutally killed for criticizing extremist Islam on his Facebook page and other online platforms. Nazimuddin Samad was a student and secular writer, a 27-year-old who was attending law school in the evenings at Jagannath University, Los Angeles Times reported.
Samad had identified himself as a man with no religion on his Facebook profile page. The Islamist extremists involved in the Samad slaying remain at large. They intercepted the writer as he was walking along a road on Wednesday evening with a classmate in Old Dhaka around 9.45 p.m., according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Nurul Islam.
The writer and student died like several other bloggers. Witnesses told police that six men carrying weapons surrounded Samad at an intersection and started hacking the writer with machetes. The young man fell to the street and the assailants did not leave without shooting him. Police said they found a bullet shell at the scene, the report by Los Angeles Times reads.
Witnesses said the suspects chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as they attacked the writer. Samad’s classmate told officials that the attackers wore casual clothes and vanished into a crowd after the assault. Samad was taken to the hospital and officially pronounced dead.
Samad was the research and information secretary of Bangabandhu Jatiya Juba Parishad, which is a group affiliated with the Awami League party.
In response to Samad’s slain, students from the Jagannath University held a protest on Thursday and blocked a street outside the campus in Old Dhaka.
Killings by fundamentalist Islamists on the rise in Bangladesh
Religious extremists have in the last few years killed at least four secular bloggers and one publisher of secular writings in Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim nation of 160 million people. Authorities have arrested some suspects, but they still seem to be unable to prevent such dreadful killings of secular voices.
A banned militant group called the Ansarullah Bangla Team had a “hit list” of secular writers and its members have been arrested for being involved in previous slayings like that of Avijit Roy, a naturalized American citizen who was attacked by militants of this group along with his wife in February 2015.
Bengali authorities sentenced two men to death last December for brutally killing Ahmed Rajib Haidar in 2013, marking the first verdicts after a series of killings of secular writers in the South Asian country. Haidar was a blogger known for carrying out a campaign against Islamic fundamentalism.
PEN America, an association of writers promoting freedom of speech, issued a statement to reject Samad’s killing and call on the Obama administration once again to offer shelter to writers in Bangladesh who might be at risk. The organization urged the Bangladeshi police and the international community to conduct an extensive investigation aimed at prosecuting the gruesome assaults on free expression and thought, Los Angeles Times reported.
“We also reiterate our demand for the United States and other countries that are able to provide refuge to shelter those writers who are still at grave risk before more lives are lost”, PEN America said in the statement.
Source: Los Angeles Times