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September 24, 2015 6:48 am

Bangladeshi Islamists Threaten Global Slaughter of Secular Writers

avatar by Steven Emerson

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The cover of a Koran. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The cover of a Koran. Photo: Wiki Commons.

A radical Islamist group in Bangladesh is threatening to take its jihad against secular writers global.

The Ansarullah Bangla Team, which is suspected of acting on threats and slaying at least four secular bloggers this year, has released a “hit list” of new targets. American Avijit Roy was among those murdered by the group in 2015.

Roy was hacked to death when he returned to Bangladesh for a book fair in February. He, like the other slain bloggers, criticized religious extremism and some tenets of Islam, drawing the wrath of the Bangladesh Islamist group with alleged ties to al-Qaeda.

Roy’s wife, who was injured but survived the attack on her husband, is among those named on the new list, the Guardian reports. The list includes two people living in the United States, one in Canada, one in Sweden, and nine in the United Kingdom.

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Several Ansarullah Bangla members recently were arrested in connection with the killings, but that does not seem to have deterred the group. Its list included what the Guardian described as “an incoherent demand to strip bloggers of their citizenship” in Bangladesh; the group calls the writers “enemies of Islam and [Muslim religious] education, atheists, apostates, unbelievers, anti-Islamic … bloggers [and] agents of India.”

Ansarullah Bangla issued a video called “Eradicate Democracy,” which argues democracy is incompatible and in conflict with Islam.

Police in Great Britain have advised the bloggers named to be cautious.

One writer, Ananya Azad, who left Bangladesh after being warned he was the assassins’ “next” target, vowed to continue writing despite the threats.

“Our weapon is [the] pen, and we can use it without hurting anybody. We just want to make people conscious about their rights,” he told the Guardian.

“Fundamentalists have threatened that they will come and kill me. I can’t say that I am fully safe, as the fundamentalists know where I am residing. I can’t say what will happen in future, but I can give you this assurance that I will write until the end of my life.”

In addition to Roy, slain bloggers in 2015 include Niloy NeelAnanta Bijoy Das, and Washiqur Rahman. In 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was murdered after he advocated using war crimes tribunals for people responsible for mass killings at the end of Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.

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