Tell Congress: Demand Bangladesh Protect Human Rights and Secularist Writers

Last week, Bangladeshi writer and secularist Niloy Chakrabati—pen name Niloy Neel—was ambushed and beheaded in his own home by machete-wielding gang. He is the fourth secularist writer to be hacked to death in 2015. An al Qaeda-inspired Islamic extremist group which had publicly listed these writers as targets has claimed credit for all of these attacks, and threatened to kill dozens more.

These writers were part of a community of outspoken and relentless critics of a fundamentalist strain of Islam whose adherents seek to eliminate dissenters, overtake Bangladesh, and force everyone to live according to their intolerant views. These brave writers refused to back down, even as their own government has betrayed its domestic and international human rights commitments that require the protection of freedom of religion, belief, and expression for all its citizens — especially for minorities, including Hindus, Christians, and the non-religious — by not just ignoring their plight, but at times arresting them for their speech and writings.

In fact, after this latest murder the Inspector General of Police audaciously threatened to arrest freethinkers and religious minorities for “offending religious sensibilities.” Even the country’s prime minister has been cowed into inaction, with her son admitting after the murder of Avijit Roy in January that “We don’t want to be seen as atheists.” 

This cowardice is abhorrent. It’s time that the international community demanded more from Bangladesh. This is especially true of the United States, which is a massive trading and security partner with Bangladesh. 

Fortunately, last month United States Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a measure, H. Res. 396, which demands Bangladesh affirm its secular constitution, protect minority communities, and guarantee human rights for all. This resolution is long-overdue and, in the wake of another writer’s murder, should be passed immediately.

The Center for Inquiry has long worked closely with activists in Bangladesh to defend and advance secular government and fundamental human rights, and passionately supports this resolution. CFI urges you to use our simple, pre-written online form below to quickly contact your representatives and tell them to vote “Yes!” on H. Res. 396. 

 

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Support H. Res. 396!

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a friend of the Center for Inquiry, I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor House Resolution 396, a measure sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) that demands Bangladesh affirm its secular constitution, protect minority communities, and guarantee human rights for all.



It's time that the international community demanded more from Bangladesh. This is especially true of the United States, which is a massive trading and security partner with Bangladesh. H. Res 396 is long-overdue and, given continued threats and attacks, should be passed immediately. I urge you to co-sponsor this resolution.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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