Monday, September 7, 2015

Extremist killing of atheist bloggers stirs panic in Bangladesh - The Globe and Mail

“My best friend, my husband is gone. How can I survive in a conservative society like this where I am not safe because I am a woman?” she says. “I want to leave. I don’t want to die here.”
 The day he was hacked to death with a butcher’s blade, Niloy Chatterjee slept in. Muslims in Bangladesh were preparing for Friday morning prayers but Mr. Chatterjee, an outspoken atheist, had no such demands on his time. He rose at 11 a.m. and walked to a nearby vegetable market while his wife of two years, Asa Moni, scrubbed pots at home.

He returned with potatoes and salt, sweaty from the humidity that drenches Dhaka in the final weeks of the rainy season. He showered, then sat down on his bed with his laptop.

Moments later, he was dead.
Such writings were controversial even among fellow atheists.

“They were a bit irresponsible,” Mr. Alam said. “You cannot change a society that doesn’t trust you, that hates you, that wants to kill you.”

Mr. Alam has sought to bridge religious differences to enable dialogue. He desires a country “where people are more tolerant about each other’s views.”

Still, the blogger deaths have scared him. He recently installed a welded metal gate at the foot of his stairs and two dogs now stand guard outside his room.

“After Niloy was killed in his home, I got a bit paranoid,” he says.
For Ms. Asa Moni, hope is far from mind. For three nights after Mr. Chatterjee died, she screamed into the darkness, plagued by images of the attack.

The knock on the door came as her husband tapped at his computer. She opened the door to a strange man who said the landlord had sent him to look at the apartment.

The man was perhaps 20 years old, thin and dressed in a black T-shirt and blue jeans. He walked around twice, then stood in front of the kitchen and began mashing buttons on his mobile phone.

Moments later, three people barged into the apartment, brandishing a gleaming chapati, a rectangular cleaver made to splinter bone. They said nothing, instead moving straight toward Mr. Chatterjee, who had come to the bedroom door.

With their first swing, they severed parts of one hand. Chunks of his fingers fell to the floor.

“Who are you guys?” was all Mr. Chatterjee could manage before an attacker brandishing a pistol pushed Ms. Asa Moni onto the apartment’s veranda. “Save us! Save us!” she screamed.

But the attack was viciously efficient. The men left within minutes, Mr. Chatterjee’s head almost completely severed from his body.

Extremist killing of atheist bloggers stirs panic in Bangladesh - The Globe and Mail

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