Turtles all the way down

Keyboard heroes: Bangladesh’s atheist bloggers speak out

Posted by doctore0 on September 22, 2015

and free from dogma

and free from dogma

Atheist bloggers are being brutally murdered one by one in Bangladesh. And yet, as I investigated this story for BBC Our World, the extreme violence of the killings was not – for me at least – the most surprising thing.

Here are the facts in brief: in recent years, a group of people who deny the existence of God, using both rational arguments and dark and satirical humour to do so, has grown up on the Bangladeshi internet. In this mostly Muslim nation, these bloggers attracted the attention of Islamist groups who initially wanted them arrested.

Now, something much darker has started happening. Atheists are being brutally hacked to death, picked off one by one by a shadowy underworld of extremist groups. Four have been killed so far this year.

But that wasn’t the most surprising thing.

Instead, after making our BBC World News film, the thing that stayed with me most was that Bangladesh’s online atheists and secular voices continue to speak out – including to our BBC team in frank on-camera interviews.

In other words, here in the third most populous Muslim nation in the world, the rationalists and atheists are not only vocal and sometimes scathing about the Islamic faith – but they are also refusing to back down.
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