We are outraged by the senseless and brutal hacking to death of well known scientist, atheist and writer Avijit Roy and the serious attack on his wife and blogger, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, by Islamists in Bangladesh.

Avijit had received numerous threats over the years for publishing articles critical of Islam, and promoting secular views, science and social issues on the Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona (Free Mind), which he founded. He had travelled to Bangladesh from the US to attend a book fair where his book “The Virus of Faith” was being launched. It was whilst he was returning from the fair, that he was brutally killed.

This is not the first time atheists and secularists have been attacked in Bangladesh. In addition to the well known threats received by writer Taslima Nasrin, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed and Ahmed Rajib killed in 2013. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a secular writer and professor at Dhaka University, was also attacked and later died.

Whilst Islamists have continued to threaten prominent bloggers and called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”, the Bangladeshi government has done little to defend the lives and security of freethinkers. In 2013, the government even arrested bloggers and shut websites down instead of arresting the Islamists involved.

We stand united in our grief for Avijit Roy with Mukto-muna but remain undefeated. We unequivocally condemn the attack on Avijit and his wife and also the many threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to prosecute the Islamists involved, guarantee the safety of dissenters and respect free expression. Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

We are all Avijit.

Initial Signatories

Afsaneh Vahdat, Spokesperson for Children First Now
Ahasanul Basher, Human Right Activist
Alber Saber, Activist
Albert Beale, Peace Activist
Ali al Razi, Ex-Muslims Forum
Aliyah Saleem, Secular Education Activist
Amal Farah, Spokesperson for One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Amina Sboui, Tunisian Activist
Aminul Islam, Bangladeshi Blogger and Human Rights Activist
Ananta Bijoy Dash, Blogger
Ananya Azad, Writer and Social Activist
Ani Zonneveld, Founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values
Anissa Helie, Professor of History, John Jay College
Annie Sugier, President of Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Ansar Ahmed Ullah, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh
Aouicha Bekhti, Algerian Secularist
Arifur Rahman, Bangladeshi Blogger and Human Rights Activist
Asif Mohiuddin, Bangladeshi Blogger
Aso Kamal, Activist
Asqar Karimi, Head of the Executive Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
Babak Yazdi, Spokesperson of Kanoone Khavaran (Organization for the Defence of Political Prisoner in Iran)
Bahram Soroush, Political Commentator
Behzad Varpushty, Activist
Braema Mathi, Human Rights Activist
Caroline Fourest, Writer
Chris Moos, Secularist Activist and Researcher
Christine M. Shellska, President of Atheist Alliance International
Chulani Kodikara, Senior Researcher at the International Center for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka
Comred Deman, Student, Bangladesh
Daniela Malini, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
Dario Picciau, Artist, Filmmaker and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
David Silverman, Director of American Atheists
Diganta Bahar, Blogger and Human Rights Activist
Eli Vieira Araujo Junior, Secular Humanist League of Brazil
Elie Calhoun, Artist and Activist
Ensaf Haidar, wife of Saudi political prisoner Raif Badawi
Esam Shoukry, Founder of Secularism & Civil Rights in Iraq
Fabio Patronelli, Artist and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
Fahima Hashim, Salmmah Women
Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, Iraqi activist, Founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement
Faizun Zackariya, Citizens Voice for Justice and Peace
Fariborz Pooya, Host of Bread and Roses TV and Secretary of Federation of Iranian Refugees UK
Farida Shaheed, Shirkat Gah
Farzana Hassan, Writer
Fatou Sow, International Director of Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Fiammetta Venner, Writer
George Broadhead, Secretary of Pink Triangle Trust
Gita Sahgal, Executive Director of Centre for Secular Space
Gona Saed, Campaigner and Activist
Greta Christina, Author and Blogger
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web
Hasina Khan, Muslim Women’s Rights Network in India
Hillol Dutta, Banker
Homa Arjomand, Coordinator of International Campaign Against Sharia Court In Canada and Campaign for One Secular School System for All
Huguette Chomski Magnis, Secretary General of Mouvement Pour la Paix et Contre le Terrorisme
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
J. Anderson Thomson Jr., Author of Why we Believe in God(s)
Jalil Jalili, Activist
James Bloodworth, Journalist and Editor of Left Foot Forward
Jane Donnelly, Human Rights Officer of Atheist Ireland
Javed Anand, Civil Rights Activist
Jeanne Favret-Saada, Anthropologist
Johnny Monsarrat, Alliance Director of Secular Policy Institute
Julius Wiedemann, Editor and Director for Digital Publications at TASCHEN Publishing
Karima Bennoune, Professor and Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Research Scholar, University of California, Davis School of Law
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Kazem Nikkhah, Political Activist
Khushi Kabir, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for her work at Nijera Kori with Bangladesh’s landless
Kochi Chowdhury, Blogger and Human Rights Activist
Kuljit Kaur, Activist
Lalia Ducos, Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Laura Guidetti, Marea feminist magazine
Lawrence Krauss, Co-director of Cosmology Initiative and Director of Origins Initiative
Leo Igwe, Founder of Nigerian Humanist Movement
Lila Ghobady, Iranian Writer and Filmmaker
Lilian Halls-French, Co-President of Euro-Med Feminist Initiative
Linda Weil-Curiel, Lawyer
Maajid Nawaz, Co-Founder and Chairman of Quilliam Foundation
Madhu Mehra, Partners for Law in Development
Magdulien Abaida, Libyan Activist and President of Hakki (My Right) Organization for Women Rights
Marieme Helie Lucas, Founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue
Mary Devery, Executive Committee Member of Terre des Femmes
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and Producer of Bread and Roses TV
Matt Cherry, Immediate Past President, United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Executive Director of Death Penalty Focus
Meredith Tax, Centre for Secular Space
Mersedeh Ghaedi, London Spokesperson of Iran Tribunal
Michael Nugent, Chair of Atheist Ireland
Michael Trollan, Founder of Secular Action
Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of the International Committees against Stoning and Executions
Monica Lanfranco, Marea feminist magazine
Mustafa Saber, Member of the Executive Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Navid Minaee, Atheist and Political Activist
Nazanin Borumand, Council of Ex-Muslim of Germany
Nick Cohen, Journalist
Nina Sankari, Vice President of Atheist Coalition Poland
Nira Yuval-Davis, a founder member of Women Against Fundamentalism and the International Research Network on Women in Militarized Conflict Zone
Noshin Ghaderi, International Committee Against Executions UK
Pascal Descamps, Activist
Paul V Dudman, Archivist, Refugee Research Archive at University of East London
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistani Nuclear Physicist and Social Activist
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Polly Toynbee, Writer
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
PZ Myers, Scientist
Raheel Raza, President of for Muslims Facing Tomorrow
Ramatu Ahmed, Activist
Rayhan Rashid, International Crimes Strategy Forum and Muktangon-Blog
Rayhana Sultan, Activist
Rebecca Hale, President of The American Humanist Association
Reza Moradi, Political Activist and Bread and Roses TV Director
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Roberto Malini, Poet, Writer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
Ronald A. Lindsay, President and Chief Executive Officer of Center for Inquiry
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of The American Humanist Association
Roy W Brown, International Representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union
Rumana Hashem, Core Group Member of Nari Diganta & Post-doctoral Associate at the Centre for Migration, Refugee and Belonging at University of East London
Rumy Hasan, Academic
Russell Blackford, Writer and Philosopher
Sabine Salmon, President of Femmes Solidaires
Saeeda Kamal, Artist
Safia Lebdi, President of Insoumises
Safwan Mason, Council of Ex-Muslims of New Zealand
Samir Noory, Spokesperson of Committee for Abolishing Death Penalty in Iraq
Samiran Bhattacharya, Bangladeshi Blogger
Sara Hakemi, Secular Greens and Giordano Bruno Foundation
Sarah Peace, Fireproof Library
Shakil Aronno, Blogger and Journalist
Shantanu Adib, Atheist and Secular Activist
Shipra Rehman, Student
Shoikot Chy, Moderator of Mukto-Muna
Siba Shakib, Writer
Sikivu Hutchinson, Author
Sirwan Ghaderi, Secretary of Worker-communist Party of Iran – UK
Soad Baba Aïssa, Founder of Association pour la mixité, l’égalité et la laïcité
Sonja Eggerickx, President of International Humanist and Ethical Union
Souradeep Dasgupta, Bangladeshi Blogger and Human Rights Activist
Steed Gamero, Poet, Photographer and Human Rights Defender, EveryOne Group
Stephen Law, Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK
Sue Cox, Founder of Survivors Voice Europe
Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Researcher and Women’s Rights Activist
Sultana Kamal, Women’s Rights Defender
Supriyo Chakravarty, Lawyer
Tanjir Sugar, Activist
Taslima Nasrin, Author
Ted Jeory, Author
Teesta Setalvad, Citizens for Justice and Peace
Terry Sanderson, National Secular Society
Ummey Habiba, Bangladeshi Activist at Toslima Pkkho
Waleed Al-Husseini, Palestinian blogger and Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Activist
Zahidul Alam Rubel, Activist



  1. I am appalled by this act and sorrow for the loss of Avijit Roy.
    As a European, atheist and scientist, I am used to (and often take for granted) my right to free thought and free speech. It is difficult for me to understand the dangers that face so many of my fellow human beings who try to exercise their rights to accept or reject and to question the philosophies of others.
    Please allow me to stand with you as opponents of violence and oppression. Please allow me to stand with you as a supporter of free thought and free speech.
    My thoughts sympathy are with Rafida Ahmed Bonus at this time. I hope that she will recover quickly from her injuries.

    1. I am a former Muslim. Mukto-mona has some of my articles in its archive. I am very sad at the murder of Avijt. I can’t condemn this heinous act enough to console Bonna. Please include my name in the petition. Thanks.

      1. Hello to you Mohammad. Please follow the links that Maryam provides to the petition.
        One thing becomes clear to me at sad times such as this; atheists are normally the nicest of people.
        My best regards and respect to you Mohammad. May we continue to stand together against those that would silence us.

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