The killing of a fourth blogger this year, allegedly by Islamic militants, has drawn condemnation from religious leaders in Bangladesh. Niladri Chatterjee was hacked to death in his home in Dhaka on Friday. The 40-year old blogger who used the pen name Niloy Neel, was critical of religion and religious fundamentalism. He is the 4th blogger to be slayed in Bangladesh this year, after Ananta Bijoy Das, Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman. All the four were on a list of 84 so-called “atheist bloggers” that was submitted to the government and circulated publicly.
A culture of impunity and the government’s failure to offer protection are behind the wave of attacks, Father Joyonta Gomes, secretary of the Bangladesh Catholic Bishops’ Social Communication Commission said over the weekend. “We are gravely concerned by the ongoing attacks and killings of bloggers in the country. These attacks hit on religious tolerance and freedom of expression,” he said. “An atheist can be a better person than a religious person, but his/her writings should be respectful to religions, and they should not hurt religious sentiments of people,” he added.
Muslim leaders, too, condemned Chatterjee’s killing, but also criticized the government for allowing bloggers to post inflammatory material. “Islam is a religion of peace, so no good Muslim can accept and support killing someone for opposing religious views, but hurting the religious sentiments of people is also condemnable,” said Mufti Ainul Islam, head imam of the Hizbul Bahar Jame mosque and madrassa in Dhaka.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh have strongly denounced the murder of Chatterjee and called for bringing the perpetrators to justice.
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