Editor Of Bangladesh’s Only LGBT Magazine Hacked To Death

I think my full time job of working on a college campus is more life threatening than my part time position as an Instinct Magazine blogger.  Who knew that blogging about LGBT issues, rights, concerns would put your own life in danger.

Unfortunately, that is what happened in Bangladesh over the weekend.

 

Bangladesh police say a top gay rights activist and editor at the country's only LGBT magazine is one of two people who have been hacked to death.  The US ambassador to Bangladesh condemned the killing of Xulhaz Mannan, who also worked at the US embassy.  Another person was also injured when the attackers entered a Dhaka flat.

Since February last year suspected militants have killed several secular or atheist writers and members of religious minority groups.  The two men were murdered two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants.

So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility – but the Bangladeshi government insists there is no IS presence in the country.

"I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi," said US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat.  "We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders," she added.

BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan, a magazine and activist group for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community that had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.

Homosexuality is technically illegal in Bangladesh and remains a highly sensitive issue in society.  Both men were openly gay and believed that if more gay Bangladeshis came out then the country would have to accept them, the photographer said.  They were also were behind the annual "Rainbow Rally", held on Bengali New Year, 14 April, since 2014. This year's rally was banned by police as part of widespread security measures.  "Both were extremely gentle, non-violent and aware that being openly gay and active in their work was a personal danger," the photographer said.

Their killings were likely to spread fear among Bangladesh's gay community, he said.  "Until a year ago the only threat to coming out was shame of the family and having to start a new life elsewhere in Bangladesh. Now it's one of danger," he said. – bbc.com

If homosexuality is illegal in Bangladesh, is this why there doesn't seem to be too much being done to prevent these violent murders?  Will these murders push LGBT rights and citizens back into the shadows?  This weekend's tragedy was not the first. 

 

Long line of killings

Meanwhile Bangladesh's best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday.

Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed "very soon".

Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in Dhaka.

Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with machetes.

The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 "atheist bloggers" drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.

There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

Two foreigners – an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer – have also been killed.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government has failed to properly address the attacks.  – bbc.com

I was talking to my mother tonight on the drive home about my blogging and she said, "you seem to like doing this."  I agreed, it is a great part time gig.  But it is a job that I would drop in a heart beat if I felt my life was threatened.  We do get some off the wall people calling us ignorant, stupid, heteronormative, practicing internalized homophobia, and to those "crazy critics," I laugh and sometimes egg on in through chat and comments.  But to have your life threatened for just voicing your opinions, to have your life ended because of a thought, a comment, a belief, this is so wrong.

We send our thoughts out to Bangladesh and those families affected. 

 

h/t :  bbc.com

What do you think?