An arrest warrant has been issued for author Salam Azad, whose 2003 novel contains supposedly insulting remarks about the religious character Mohammed.
A court in Dhaka issued the order in response to a petition from a Muslim activist accusing author Salam Azad of hurting religious sentiment in his banned book Bhanga Math (Broken Temple).
Azad told AFP the case was part of a smear campaign against him launched by a senior official from the ruling Awami League party: I became his target after I protested his grabbing of Hindu property. He has already filed a case against me .
Azad said the book, published in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, was banned for blasphemy by the Bangladeshi government in 2004.
Bangladesh has extended the censorship of supposedly blasphemous blogs after a threat by extremist muslims to march to the capital to demand the
prosecution of atheist blogger.
The internet censor has ordered two leading Internet sites to remove hundreds of posts by seven bloggers whose writings are claimed to have 'offended' Muslims, according to its assistant director Rahman Khan:
These writings have defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. The two sites, Somewhereinblog.net and Amarblog.com, have removed most of the posts.
Khan said the regulator was scrutinising other sites to identify and erase blasphemous blogs in an attempt to appease the extremists.
Update: Mass protest in Dahka calls for blasphemy laws against bloggers
Three 'atheist bloggers' were arrested and paraded at a news conference following muslim extremist demands to kill the blasphemous bloggers.
Deputy commissioner of Dhaka police, Molla Nazrul Islam said that the three had hurt the religious feelings of the people by writing against different religions. He added that the three could face 10 years in jail if convicted under the country's cyber
laws which outlaw defaming a religion.
Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan said the three arrested men were among 84 atheist bloggers named in a list handed over by an Islamist group to a government panel probing alleged blasphemy against Islam on the Internet.
Meanwhile, a group of bloggers protested the overnight arrests of the three men and said their detention meant the government is caving in to pressure from Islamist groups. Scores of bloggers held hands to form a human chain in Dhaka to protest the
arrests. Fahmidul Haq, a blogger and Dhaka University professor said:
We demand their release. The future of Bangladesh is bleak if the freedom expression of the bloggers is curbed.
Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina has firmly rejected demands by muslim extremists for a new anti-blasphemy law to
punish those who defame Islam and and the religious character Muhammad.
In a BBC interview, she said existing laws were sufficient to punish anyone who attempted to insult religion. Hasina said:
They have demanded it. Actually, we don't have any plan to [bring in the law]. We don't need it. They should know that existing laws are enough.
This country is a secular democracy. So each and every religion has the right to practice their religion freely and fair. But it is not fair to hurt anybody's religious feeling. Always we try to protect every religious sentiment.
The Islamists have given a three-week ultimatum to the government to meet their demands, including extreme punishment to those who they describe as atheist bloggers, who are also accused of making derogatory comments against Islam.
A Bangladesh court has indicted four bloggers for their supposedly inflammatory writings about Islam and the religious character Muhammad.
This will be the first case to be tried under Bangladesh's recently amended Information and Communication Technology Act, enacted after widespread violent street protests demanding the blood of atheist bloggers. The new law features extreme punishments
of up to 14 years in jail.
The opening of the trial was set for 6th November.
An atheist blogger opposed to religious extremism has been hacked to death in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, the latest attack on the country's bloggers after an American atheist blogger was killed in the same manner last month.
Washiqur Rahman was repeatedly stabbed by three men in the Tejgaon industrial area of Dhaka. Police arrested two men who were caught at the scene of the crime and recovered three meat cleavers from the spot.
The attack on Rahman came a month after Avijit Roy, a US-based Bangladeshi atheist blogger , was hacked to death at a busy roundabout in Dhaka. Roy's wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, also a blogger, was seriously injured in the February 26 attack that triggered
A social media writer said Rahman was known to write against religious fundamentalism. He used to write using a penname Kutshit Hasher Chhana (Ugly Duckling).
Police compared Rahman's murder to the 2013 killing of blogger Rajeeb Haider. Haider, known as Thaba Baba in the blogging community, was hacked to death on February 15, 2013 near his home at Pallabi in Dhaka.
An atheist blogger has been hacked to death in north-eastern Bangladesh by religious intolerants, the third such deadly murderous this year. Police
Attackers wearing masks hacked Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes in Sylhet city at around 8.30 this morning. We have learned that he was a writer
Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers' association, told AFP Das was an atheist who wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona, a website formerly moderated by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was stabbed to death in the capital, Dhaka, in February.
Das's friend, Debasish Debu, said, referring to an alleged hitlist of atheist bloggers prepared by muslim intolerants:
In recent months he received threats from extremists for his writings. He was on their hitlist,
On Friday, August 7 at approximately 1:45pm, five assailants armed with machetes entered the flat of blogger Niloy Neel and killed him brutally . When
his wife and sister attempted to save him, the attackers threatened to kill them too.
Niloy is the fourth blogger to be killed in Bangladesh over the last six months. All those killed were secular and critical of extremist muslim political movements in the country. Many more have been attacked, subjected to death threats and ostracized by
religious hardliners for their writing.
The blogger had written under the pen name Niloy Neel in Istishon (meaning station in Bengali) as a member of a Bengali group blog that covered political and social issues. Neel was vocal about secularism and wrote for the platform Ganajagaran Mancha ,
demanding capital punishment for 1971 war criminals. Neel was also writing in support of women's rights, indigenous peoples, even for all other minorities. He was critic of religious extremism that provoked bombing in mosque and killing thousands of
The names of these bloggers and others under threat appeared on a list of 84 people submitted to a special government committee by a group of extremist Muslim clerics who accused the bloggers of atheism and writing against Islam. Government
officials responded by blocking critical websites and making arrests of bloggers and leaders from the religious right.
Eleven of the bloggers on the list (including Niloy) have now been killed over the past two years.
A publisher of secular books has been hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital. In a separate attack in Dhaka, police said two other writers and a
publisher were stabbed and shot at a publishing house.
Occurences of Islamist violence have been growing in Bangladesh after at least four atheist bloggers were murdered in the country this year. The attacks have been linked by police to domestic Islamist extremists, while Islamic State has claimed
responsibility for three other attacks.
The body of Faisal Abedin Deepan, of the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, was found inside his office, said senior police officer Shibly Noman. Earlier in the day, publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul was attacked in the office of the Shudhdhoswar publishing
house and seriously wounded. Two writers were also wounded in that attack. All three of the victims were hospitalised, and Tutul was in critical condition, police said.
Both Deepan and Tutal had published books by Bangladeshi-American writer and blogger Avijit Roy , who was hacked to death in February . He was one of the four secular bloggers killed in Bangladesh this year.
A local Islamist group, Ansarullah Bangla Team, had claimed responsibility for the killings and recently threatened to kill more bloggers.
Nazimuddin Samad, whose family live in London, was hacked to death by at least four assailants after posting on Facebook. He had been on a hit list of 84 bloggers drawn up by murderous muslim extrmists in Bangladesh. He was hacked to death and then shot.
Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of Dhaka to demand the capture and punishment of those responsible for the murder of a law student who criticised Islamism on his Facebook page.
About 350 activists from the secular campaigning network Ganajagaran Mancha took part in the demonstration on Thursday after the killing of Nazimuddin Samad in the Bangladeshi capital on Wednesday night.
Samad, 28, had been on a hit list of 84 atheist bloggers that a group of radical Islamists drew up and sent to the Bangladesh interior ministry. His murder was the latest in a series of killings of secular activists and bloggers in the country.
Xulhaz Mannan, a top gay rights activist and editor of Roopbaan, the country's only LGBT magazine, was hacked to death together with another man associated with the publication, Tanay Mojumdar.
The two men were killed 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 claimed there is no IS presence in the country.
BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan , a magazine and activist group for the 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.
Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.
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