Bangladesh Blogger Seeks US Help as Threats Escalate

by Adrian J. Elliott | Friday, Aug 28, 2020 | 1760 views

When Bangladeshi blogger and social activist Ashif Entaz Rabi hosted a tv talk show approximately a slaying of a writer by way of Islamic extremists, he confronted a torrent of threatening telephone calls. He says younger men with earpieces started out loitering out-of-doors his administrative center, and a militant internet site urged followers to “send this Ashif to Allah.”


However Bangladeshi authorities advised him they couldn’t shield him, saying he’d want the form of safety commonly reserved for the high minister to preserve him safe. As a substitute, they told him to take care of himself, and write something right about Islam and the government.

Rabi, 37, is in Washington on the invitation of a human rights organization, calling attention to the dozens of writers and bloggers who fear they might be the next victim of a wave of savage attacks on liberals and non secular minorities in Bangladesh. The violence has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the traditionally slight Muslim state Page Design Shop.

Tuesday marks global Press Freedom Day, and a coalition of rights organizations are calling for a U.N.-subsidized inquiry into the killings because Bangladesh’s authorities has done not deal with the scenario. They are saying “an ecosystem of entire impunity” inside the South Asian state is emboldening the killers. On account that the start of 2015, at least 9 intellectuals, lecturers, writers, bloggers, and activists were hacked to dying in focused assassinations.

Rabi attended the annual White residence Correspondents’ affiliation dinner on the weekend, and met Tuesday with a top kingdom department envoy on human rights, Tom Malinowski, to speak about the deteriorating climate of tolerance in Bangladesh. He’s additionally hoping to discover a way to cozy sanctuary within the U.S. for himself and his immediately own family.


“It is higher that the worldwide community do something instead of just make statements. It is no need simply issuing letters, as the prime minister (of Bangladesh) does no longer care,” Rabi told The associated Press on Monday.

Secretary of country John Kerry known as Bangladeshi top Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday, urging Bangladesh to defend the ones at danger. He also provided U.S. guide for the investigation into the slaying final week of Xulhaz Mannan, a U.S. agency for worldwide improvement worker and homosexual rights activist.

When you consider that December, the U.S. has said it’s far thinking about offering brief sanctuary to some people at immediately hazard. The state branch said Tuesday in a few instances its far operating with nongovernment groups to attain out to folks who can be under danger and need emergency help.

A broader subject for Washington is that transnational jihadist organizations could benefit a foothold in Bangladesh notwithstanding the nation’s traditions of secularism, loose speech and respect for its Christian and Hindu minorities.

Nearly all the assaults had been claimed with the aid of corporations just like the so-referred to as Islamic nation and diverse affiliates of al-Qaida. The government, however, has denied that these organizations have a presence in Bangladesh, and has blamed the violence at the political competition.

Whilst there have been a few arrests, government have struggled to make any headway in naming those planning the attacks.

Mahbub Hassan Saleh, deputy leader of mission at the Bangladeshi Embassy in Washington, stated in an electronic mail that the authorities is decided to bring to justice perpetrators of recent killings of bloggers, teachers and religious minorities. He said convictions were secured of eight human beings concerned within the February 2013 slaying of secular blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.

He said some home political and extremist forces want to create instability through resorting to terrorism, which he connected to competition of the government’s prosecution of suspects accused of atrocities all through Bangladesh’s battle of independence in 1971. He said the government is dedicated to protective its 160 million humans and upholding human rights.

Rights agencies charge, but, that pinnacle officers have condemned the targeted people for their writings.

“When a central authority willfully shirks its responsibility to protect its citizens and hold accountable those guilty of such brutal assaults, the global community has to step in,” said Suzanne Nossel, a former U.S. legitimate and government director of PEN American center, which is among sixteen international rights group calling on governments to assist the establishment of a fee of Inquiry by means of the United international locations Human Rights Council.

It’s doubtful if there might be ok worldwide help for such action, which might require a central authority to advocate it, and a majority at the 47-member council to returned it. Such commissions were installed to analyze mass rights abuses, as in North Korea, Syria and Libya, instead of the kind of centered killings happening in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s constitution enshrines loose speech, but Rabi, who started his profession as an editor of a satirical caricature mag, is no stranger to threats and intimidation.

Whilst he began running a blog in 2008, he stated it furnished a new manner to focus on abuses of strength that mainstream media shied away from. He wrote and prepared demonstrations about the plight of Bangladeshi migrant laborers on death row in Saudi Arabia, safety failings in the garment industry, or even approximately the threat of an Islamic militant dying in police custody.

He stated he has toned down his writings and activism in view that 2013, when the spate of slayings started out, but after he hosted a display approximately the killing of a writer of secular books in October, it attracted a rash of death threats.

“I hope that as a minimum the U.S. kingdom branch they may open a small door for me so that … I’m able to stay a bit longer,” he stated.

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