05/21/2015, 00.00
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Islamic extremists claim the right to kill ten intellectuals and bloggers

by Sumon Corraya
Fundamentalist group ‘Al Qaeda Ansarullah Bangla’ has released a list of future victims, and sent a copy to each of them. Security has become an emergency in the country where three critics of Islam have already been hacked to death. “I don’t’ feel safe,” says Catholic blogger.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – “It would have been better had I not been born here,” said Catholic blogger Nirob Costa (an invented name used for security reasons).

“If I had been born in a Christian country, I would feel much safer,” he told AsiaNews, after Al Qaeda Ansarullah Bangla sent death threats to a number of people, including politicians, educators and bloggers.

The Islamic extremist group has sent a number of letters (pictured) threatening to kill those who criticise Islam. The list of recipients includes Prof Arefin Siddique, vice chancellor of Dhaka University; H T Imama, political advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina; writer Muhammad Zafar Iqbal; famous intellectual Kaberi Gayen; and Awami League MP Tarana Halim.

According to the terrorists, all these people are guilty of criticising the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the country. And they are not the first.

In recent years, Muslim extremists have targeted free thinkers and pro-democracy activists, claiming the right to kill "atheists".

The first one to be attacked was Ahmed Rajib Haider, the first blogger to be killed in 2013 for his ideas "contrary to Islam".

Another famous blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, was killed only last 12 May, in Sylhet, for repeatedly criticising Islamic fundamentalism and its distortion of religion.

Before them, Taslima Nasreen, a well know writer and intellectual, had to flee the country because of death threats from Islamic fundamentalists.

In 1993, she had earned their unwanted attention by writing Lajja (Shame), a book that was banned in her native Bangladesh for being allegedly blasphemous against Islam, the state religion.

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