Today atheist bloggers mourn for the loss of one of our own, killed in a frenzied machete attack which leaves Avijit Roy dead and his wife in a serious condition. He ran a blog called “Free Mind” which discussed science, religion, secularism and extremism. It gave a free thinking space for writers that might otherwise have been denied one.
He had returned to Bangladesh to promote his latest book The Virus of Faith and was murdered having attended a book fair. Virus is the sort of language that Reza Aslan claims is used by new atheists to threaten believers. As if words were any match for matchettes.
“If one thing is certain, it is that the virus of faith is dangerously real.”
That was one of the last things Roy ever wrote, commenting on the death threats he had received by Islamist fundamentalists.
I am reminded of the threats the secular conference in London had last year, attack on Charlie Hebdo and on the Copenhagen cafe hosting a discussion on blasphemy this year. Now this. There is a pattern.
It is not our freedom to express views and opinions that everyone seeks to protect. Rather, it is the sensibilities of machete yielding, gun toting fundamentalists, that too many seek to avoid provoking. Not even daring to condemn them for their fundamentalist views, but defend as if religious freedom allowed for thinking death for blasphemy was a view to have.
A virus of the mind. How else can you describe an idea like blasphemy which takes out of you all the empathy for a human being with love, hopes, fears and ideas. The poison of faith devoid of compassion for all – that would kill us or make life not worth living for those with free minds.
Taslima Nasreen wrote:
Avijit Roy was an extraordinarily talented person. He dedicated his life to enlightening those who live in the darkness of ignorance. I knew him since the mid ’90s. I admired him for his relentless efforts to spread a scientific temperament in the world. It is extremely painful to come to terms with his loss. Bangladesh has become a safe haven for Islamists where they can do whatever they like. They can kill people with no qualms whatsoever. Avijit Roy has been killed the way other free thinking writers were killed in Bangladesh. No free thinker is safe in that country.
Vigil will be happening this Sunday in Trafalgar Square, London.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog