Bengali Atheist Blogger Hacked to Death in His Home by Suspected Islamic Extremists

A fourth atheist blogger was killed in Bangladesh Friday when a gang of suspected Islamic extremists wielding machetes hacked him to death.

Niloy Neel, 40, was killed at his home in the capital city of Dhaka, becoming the fourth secular blogger to be killed in the Southeast Asian nation this year.

Neel, along with the three other victims, was on a list of 84 bloggers in Bangladesh that extremists have been targeting through multiple means, according to the BBC.

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"It was originally submitted to the government with the aim of having the bloggers arrested and tried for blasphemy. The groups which wanted bloggers arrested told us they have no knowledge of who is behind the killings," reported the BBC.

"Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government is indifferent to attacks on bloggers by Islamist militants. Two people have been arrested, but no one charged, in connection with this year's killings …"

Neel's murder is the latest attack on secular bloggers residing in Bangladesh, according to a list of incidents compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Inquiry.

In February, Avijit Roy was murdered after leaving an event held near the University of Dhaka and in March Washiqur Rahman was murdered in the capital city.

Ananta Bijoy Ras was murdered in May by a gang of men with machetes in the city of Sylhet while commuting to his day job.

The most recent incident has garnered international outrage, with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon denouncing the secular blogger murders.

"The secretary general has expressed his deep concern over these gruesome crimes and their impact on the exercise of freedom of expression in Bangladesh," stated the U.N.

"He calls on the government of Bangladesh to bring those responsible for the murder of Mr. Neel and the other bloggers to justice in an expeditious manner and act to ensure that all Bangladeshis can enjoy freedom of expression and all other human rights without fear."

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has introduced a resolution denouncing the violence against secular bloggers in Bangladesh, with the Center for Inquiry voicing its support.

"What was already a human rights crisis has now spun entirely out of control, and it is now long overdue for the government of Bangladesh to take seriously its moral responsibility to protect the lives of its people," said Ronald A. Lindsay, CFI president and CEO, in a statement.

"But this problem goes deeper than just Bangladesh. The world can no longer sit by and allow this global crackdown on free expression, by both terror groups and states alike, to continue."

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