Washiqur Rahman becomes the third humanist to be cleavered to death in the streets of DhakaThis morning, the humanist satirist and blogger Washiqur Rahman was hacked down not 500 yards from his house, because he criticised religious fundamentalism in a blog. Barely a month has passed since Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi American founder of the Mukto-Mona blog, was killed in identical circumstances. Ahmed Rajib Haider met a similar end in 2013.
The institutionalised persecution of the non-religious is seen all over the world. In some places, as in Saudi Arabia, the state acts as persecutor. In others, like Bangladesh, a tradition of turning a blind eye to murders committed in the name of blasphemy has given confidence to well-coordinated thugs and terrorists. Following an international outcry over Avijit Roy's death, the man who promised to murder him was arrested for the crime, and afterwards Ahmed Haider's suspected killers were indicted for murder as well. But these late-in-the-day reactions did little to deter the man who killed Washiqur this morning.
As we told the UN this month, states need to act decisively to emphatically and explicitly prohibit murders inspired by perceived acts of blasphemy. A wave of violence now plagues the non-religious in large swathes of the world, and governments, including our own, face a moral obligation to resist it.