Machete-wielding jihadists in Bangladesh yesterday hacked to death American secularist author and blogger Dr. Avijit Roy for . . . you guessed it: insulting Islam. The jihadists also hacked Roy’s wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, severely injuring her and cutting off one of her fingers. She remains hospitalized. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Ms. Bonna and to the couple’s friends and family.
In a 2013 op-ed titled “Freethought Under Attack in Bangladesh” in Free Inquiry, Dr. Roy and his daughter, Trisha Ahmed, wrote:
Twenty-first-century Americans like to believe that human civilization is forward-moving—that it does not seek to limit thinkers or artists or leaders. But in an age where all ideals are still not open to scrutiny, criticism, or discussion, we realize that we still have far to go before we can achieve a truly progressive society. . . .
[Nonbelievers] constitute a large fraction of the world’s intellectual and academic community. Whether it is a courageous sixteen-year-old from Rhode Island or a group of individualistic bloggers on the other side of the world, we should never belittle the endeavors of bold human beings to create rational, secular, and freethinking communities.
Amen. And let us never belittle or forget this bold, individualistic intellectual who was murdered in his prime by self-demoted sub-animals who have faith in the existence of an omnipotent madman in the sky who commands them to murder in his name.
I urge you to read Dr. Roy’s final article for Free Inquiry, “The Virus of Faith.” It will give you an indication of the remarkable thoughtfulness and character of this man who was just slaughtered for “Allah.” I hope it will also inspire you to join, or redouble your efforts to expand, the vital minority of Westerners who are committed to openly contesting the absurdity that faith is a means of knowledge—and to advocating the principle that man’s only means of knowledge is reason.