We have been discussing the surge of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, particularly targeting secular writers. This week we have another tragic victim: law student and secular writer Nazimuddin Samad, 26. For simply espousing secular viewpoints, Samad was hacked to death by three or four men on his way back home from classes. Samad and other victims have appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” published by Islamic extremists.
It is a telling scene as these cowards stopped Samad after his return from school where he was learning about the rule of law and civil liberties. These men cannot tolerate such opposing views to be heard.
Samad was a masters student at Jagannath University and is now the sixth secularist writer or publisher to have been murdered in Dhaka in the last 16 months.
The national Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported that the assailants shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) as they murdered Samad in plain view of pedestrians on a busy street.
The bravery shown by these students and bloggers is incredible and inspiring. They are fighting for a separation of church and state that guarantees free speech, free association, and yes, free exercise. The murder of this young man is an unspeakable crime, but in the twisted logic of these attackers this will be celebrated as some type of victory for their faith.