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Bangladeshi Humanists in Defense


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/06/14

The Bangladeshi bloggers and writer, many of whom are quite likely humanists in some form or other and most prbably non-religious, continue to gain international attention due to their difficulties .

Humanists UK reported on Shahzahan Bachchu. He was a poet and writer. Bachchu focused on secularism and huumanism. The past tense is used because Bachchu was shot dead.

He was in his home village at the time: Kakaldi, Bangladesh. This amounts to one of a number of humanist who have been murdered around the country throughout the last five years.

He is dead. Others are dead. Most by murder. People were murdered for their beliefs. In particular, the smarter and more intellectual members of the community with moral integrity in more difficult circumstances than those in West.

Dr. Norman Finkelstein seems correct in the examination of the West. It can be a synonym for soft: soft people. Not necessarily bad or pejorative, but softer and less resilient, especially if finding ourselves in similar circumstances.

The campaign of murders have taken several lives over the course of five years. Bachchu was known for writing books and publishing poetry.He published about freethinking and other things through the publishing house called Bishakha Prakashani.

He was the purportedly the Munshiganj district unit general secretary of the Communist Party.

“Reports of the attack state that four men on two motorcycles shot Shahzahan dead as he sat at a tea stall in his home village before fleeing the scene. Militants and religious extremists had made numerous deaths threats to Shahzahan for a number of years,” Humanist UK stated in an emailed updated, “Speaking to the Daily Observer in 2015, Shahzahan said: ‘Initially I ignored the threats… But after the killings of Washikur Rahman Babu and Ananta Bijoy, I took the matter seriously. Basically my family has become afraid’.”

Since only 2013, murders and attempted murders have been rampant on humanist bloggers — writers more properly — with gunshots and machetes, up close and far away in other words. Humanists are not safe, if public , in Bangladesh.

The email continued, “The Bangladeshi Government has been unable to provide adequate protection to humanists, has been reluctant to bring criminal charges against perpetrators, and in some cases has given in to the demands of Islamists by prosecuting non-religious individuals for blasphemy..”

The Foreign Commonwealth Office stated that there was condemnation of the attacks. Andrew Copson, who is the Chief Executive of Humanists UK, stated:

We are devastated that the spectre of violence has returned to the freethinking community in Bangladesh. Every humanist writer and secular activist and freethinking publisher who has been killed in recent years has been a defender of the rights of others, a lover of humanity and reason and justice. Their murders stand against all these universal values. We once again call on the government of Bangladesh to root out the Jihadi networks perpetrating these crimes, and on the international community to bring pressure to bear on Bangladesh to protect and defends its humanists and human rights defenders.

Today as we mourn Shahzahan Bachchu, I would also like to pay tribute to others within the Bangladeshi humanist community who have suffered such violence including Asif Mohiuddin, Ahmed Rajib Haider, Sunnyur Rahamna, Shafiul Islam, Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das, Niladri Chatterjee, Faisal Arefin Dipan, Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury, and Nazimuddin Samad.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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