Avijit Roy

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. . . .

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