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Petition to Bangladeshi Government: Prosecute Islamists who Killed Avijit Roy and Protect Freethinkers

1 March 2015

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Like Mukto-muna, we are united in our grief and remain undefeated

We are outraged by the senseless and brutal hacking to death of well known scientist, atheist and writer Avijit Roy and the serious attack on his wife and blogger, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, by Islamists in Bangladesh.

Avijit had received numerous threats over the years for publishing articles critical of Islam, and promoting secular views, science and social issues on the Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona (Free Mind), which he founded. He had travelled to Bangladesh from the US to attend a book fair where his book “The Virus of Faith” was being launched. It was whilst he was returning from the fair, that he was brutally killed.

This is not the first time atheists and secularists have been attacked in Bangladesh. In addition to the well known threats received by writer Taslima Nasrin, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed and Ahmed Rajib killed in 2013. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a secular writer and professor at Dhaka University, was also attacked and later died.

Whilst Islamists have continued to threaten prominent bloggers and called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”, the Bangladeshi government has done little to defend the lives and security of freethinkers. In 2013, the government even arrested bloggers and shut websites down instead of arresting the Islamists involved.

We stand united in our grief for Avijit Roy with Mukto-muna but remain undefeated. We unequivocally condemn the attack on Avijit and his wife and also the many threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to prosecute the Islamists involved, guarantee the safety of dissenters and respect free expression. Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

We are all Avijit.

Initial Signatories

  • Afsaneh Vahdat, Spokesperson for Children First Now
  • Ahasanul Basher, Human Right Activist
  • Ali al Razi, Ex-Muslims Forum
  • Aliyah Saleem, Secular Education Activist
  • Amal Farab, Spokesperson for One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
  • Amina Sboui, Tunisian Activist
  • Aminul Islam, Bangladeshi Blogger and Human Rights Activist
  • Ananya Azad, Writer and Social Activist
  • Ani Zonneveld, Founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values Anissa Helie, Professor of History, John Jay College
  • Annie Sugier, President of Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
  • Ansar Ahmed Ullah, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh
  • Arifur Rahman, Bangladeshi Blogger and Human Rights Activist
  • Asif Mohiuddin, Bangladeshi Blogger
  • Asqar Karimi, Head of the Executive Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
  • Babak Yazdi, Spokesperson of Kanoone Khavaran (Organization for the Defence of Political Prisoner in Iran)
  • Bahram Soroush, Political Commentator
  • Behzad Varpushty, Activist
  • Caroline Fourest, Writer
  • Chris Moos, Secularist Activist and Researcher
  • Christine M. Shellska, President of Atheist Alliance International
  • Comred Deman, Student, Bangladesh
  • Daniela Malini, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
  • Dario Picciau, Artist, Filmmaker and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
  • David Silverman, Director of American Atheists
  • Diganta Bahar, Blogger and Human Rights Activist
  • Eli Vieira Araujo Junior, Secular Humanist League of Brazil
  • Elie Calhoun, Artist and Activist
  • Ensaf Haidar, wife of Saudi political prisoner Raif Badawi
  • Esam Shoukry, Founder of Secularism & Civil Rights in Iraq
  • Fabio Patronelli, Artist and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
  • Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, Iraqi activist, Founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement
  • Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV and Secretary of Federation of Iranian Refugees UK
  • Farida Shaheed, Shirkat Gah
  • Farzana Hassan, Writer
  • Fatou Sow, International Director of Women Living Under Muslim Laws Fiammetta Venner, Writer
  • George Broadhead, Secretary of Pink Triangle Trust
  • Gita Sahgal, Executive Director of Centre for Secular Space
  • Greta Christina, Author and Blogger
  • Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
  • Hasina Khan, Muslim Women’s Rights Network in India
  • Hillol Dutta, Banker
  • Homa Arjomand, Coordinator of International Campaign Against Sharia Court In Canada and Campaign for One Secular School System for All
  • Huguette Chomski Magnis, Secretary General of Mouvement Pour la Paix et Contre le Terrorisme
  • Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
  • J. Anderson Thomson Jr., Author of Why we Believe in God(s)
  • Jalil Jalili, Activist
  • James Bloodworth, Journalist and Editor of Left Foot Forward J
  • ane Donnelly, Human Rights Officer of Atheist Ireland
  • Javed Anand, Civil Rights Activist
  • Jeanne Favret-Saada, Anthropologist
  • Johnny Monsarrat, Alliance Director of Secular Policy Institute
  • Julius Wiedemann, Editor and Director for Digital Publications at TASCHEN Publishing
  • Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
  • Kazem Nikkhah, Political Activist
  • Khushi Kabir, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for her work at Nijera Kori with Bangladesh’s landless
  • Kochi Chowdhury, Blogger and Human Rights Activist
  • Kuljit Kaur, Activist
  • Lalia Ducos, Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
  • Laura Guidetti, Marea feminist magazine
  • Lawrence Krauss, Co-director of Cosmology Initiative and Director of Origins Initiative
  • Leo Igwe, Founder of Nigerian Humanist Movement
  • Lila Ghobady, Iranian Writer and Filmmaker
  • Lilian Halls-French, Co-President of Euro-Med Feminist Initiative
  • Linda Weil-Curiel, Lawyer
  • Maajid Nawaz, Co-Founder and Chairman of Quilliam Foundation
  • Magdulien Abaida, Libyan Activist and President of Hakki (My Right) Organization for Women Rights
  • Marieme Helie Lucas, Founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue
  • Mary Devery, Executive Committee Member of Terre des Femmes
  • Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and Producer of Bread and Roses TV
  • Matt Cherry, Immediate Past President, United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Executive Director of Death Penalty Focus Meredith Tax, Centre for Secular Space
  • Mersedeh Ghaedi, London Spokesperson of Iran Tribunal
  • Michael Nugent, Chair of Atheist Ireland
  • Michael Trollan, Founder of Secular Action
  • Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of the International Committees against Stoning and Executions
  • Monica Lanfranco, Marea feminist magazine
  • Mustafa Saber, Member of the Executive Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
  • Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
  • Navid Minaee, Atheist and Political Activist
  • Nazanin Borumand, Council of Ex-Muslim of Germany
  • Nina Sankari, Vice President of Atheist Coalition Poland
  • Nira Yuval-Davis, a founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the International Research Network on Women in Militarized Conflict Zone Noshin Ghaderi, International Committee Against Executions UK
  • Pascal Descamps, Activist
  • Paul V Dudman, Archivist, Refugee Research Archive at University of East London
  • Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistani Nuclear Physicist and Social Activist
  • Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
  • Polly Toynbee, Writer
  • Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
  • PZ Myers, Scientist
  • Raheel Raza, President of for Muslims Facing Tomorrow
  • Ramatu Ahmed, Activist Rayhan Rashid, International Crimes Strategy Forum and Muktangon-Blog Rayhana Sultan, Activist
  • Rebecca Hale, President of The American Humanist Association
  • Reza Moradi, Political Activist and Bread and Roses TV Director Richard Dawkins, Scientist
  • Roberto Malini, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group Ronald A. Lindsay, President and Chief Executive Officer of Center for Inquiry Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of The American Humanist Association Roy W Brown, International Representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union
  • Rumana Hashem, Core Group Member of Nari Diganta & Post-doctoral Associate at the Centre for Migration, Refugee and Belonging at University of East London
  • Russell Blackford, Writer and Philosopher Sabine Salmon, President of Femmes Solidaires
  • Saeeda Kamal, Artist
  • Safwan Mason, Council of Ex-Muslims of New Zealand
  • Samiran Bhattacharya, Bangladeshi Blogger Sarah Peace, Fireproof Library Shakil Aronno, Blogger and Journalist
  • Shantanu Adib, Atheist and Secular Activist
  • Shipra Rehman, Student Shoikot Chy, Moderator of Mukto-Muna
  • Siba Shakib, Writer Sikivu Hutchinson, Author Sirwan Ghaderi, Secretary of Worker-communist Party of Iran - UK
  • Soad Baba Aïssa, Founder of Association pour la mixité, l’égalité et la laïcité
  • Sonja Eggerickx, President of International Humanist and Ethical Union
  • Souradeep Dasgupta, Bangladeshi Blogger and Human Rights Activist
  • Steed Gamero, Poet, Photographer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
  • Stephen Law, Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK
  • Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Researcher and Women’s Rights Activist
  • Sultana Kamal, Women’s Rights Defender
  • Supriyo Chakravarty, Lawyer Tanjir Sugar, Activist
  • Taslima Nasrin, Author
  • Ted Jeory, Author
  • Ummey Habiba, Bangladeshi Activist at Toslima Pkkho
  • Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Activist
  • Zahidul Alam Rubel, Activist

Posted March 1, 2015

Created by Maryam N. United Kingdom
To be delivered to: Bangladeshi Government

sign the petition here