Another Bangladesh blogger killed by machete

The four Bangladeshi bloggers who have been killed this year: (clockwise from top left) Niloy Chakrabarti, Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy.

The sad news is that yet another blogger in Bangladesh, Niloy Chakrabarti, has been hacked to death by a gang of Islamist thugs. The Guardian reports the horrific details …

A well-known secular blogger in Bangladesh, who has been murdered at his home in the latest such attack, had told police of threats against him and requested protection weeks before he died.

Niloy Chakrabarti, who used the pen name Niloy Neel, was hacked to death with machetes on Friday after a gang broke into his apartment in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

In an interview with the Guardian in May, Chakrabarti said he had filed reports with local police about continued harassment and was scared that he would be killed. However, his complaints were not taken seriously, he claimed.

Imran H Sarker, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, said Chakrabarti had been a “listed target”. “They entered his room on the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death,” Sarker told Agence France-Presse.

Active bloggers in Bangladesh told the Guardian earlier this year they received death threats “so frequently” they could not be counted. They also risk jail terms of up to 14 years for publishing material that authorities deem to be false or defamatory.


There is no mystery here, the primary root cause is Islam, a belief that has strands of thinking that dictates complete intolerance and motivates many adherents to respond with violence.

So should we simply judge all of Islam by the actions of a few violent thugs?

No, it is simply not appropriate to do so. If we are to judge it, then let us judge it by the one thing that is common to all the vast diversity of Islamic culture and thinking – The Quran. The words it contains are rather clear, and so if we take such words at face value that we find a text that nurtures intolerance, and also not only endorses, but encourages violence.

Sura (5:33) – The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement

Sura (8:12) – I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them

Sura (8:55) – Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve

Sura (9:30) – And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah… Allah (Himself) fights against them. How perverse are they!

Sura (9:123) – O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness

Sura (48:29) – Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves

A rather common rebuttal to this observation is the claim that I am not interpreting it correctly and that such words are … (oh the excuses are vast) …

  • incorrectly translated
  • spiritual metaphors
  • taken out of context
  • etc…

.. and yet the issue is that such words are embraced by an increasing number as literal truth to be acted upon as written, and utilised to justify the violence and intolerance, and so if there is to be a claim by some that I am not interpreting it correctly when I read such words then let me point out that I am not the right person to be having that conversation with because when I read such words, I do not actually believe them to be true, nor am I inspired to act upon them, instead that conversation needs to be had with those that do embrace such texts as literal truth.

Do not misunderstand what I am saying here – the vast majority of Muslims are decent honourable people who wish no harm to anybody, the issue is that the root source, the Quran, is a potential fountain of truly bad ideas, and it is the embrace of these bad ideas as literal truth that then triggers the intolerance and violence.

The brutal murder of secular bloggers who dare to criticise the bad ideas tells us two distinct things …

  • Those that strike out like this are confessing that they do not have better ideas to counter the criticism with, are intellectually bankrupt, and so they are forced to strike out violently to silence the criticism that they are unable to refute.
  • They are also acting as a public judgement against Islam itself and are demonstrating to all that the belief has utterly failed them and left them  morally bankrupt

Today the greatest threat that Islam faces is not from the rise of doubt, nor from the criticism of secular bloggers, but rather from the rise of the new extremism within. It will both polarise and also alienate the vast majority of Muslims and end up motivating them to reject a belief that is more and more being associated with intolerance and violence.

The demise of this irrational thinking is inevitable and the authors of this are within the belief system itself.

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