The targeting of atheist and secularist intellectuals is a strategic campaign intended to push Bangladesh away from its secular foundation. Several prominent humanist and secular bloggers have been murdered on the streets of Dhaka, including Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-American, who founded Mukto-Mona, an Internet community for freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, atheists and humanists of mainly Bengali and other South Asian descent. Roy’s widow, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, survived the attack by religious fundamentalists and will speak on how humanists must fight fundamentalism and all forms of oppression around the world.
Rafida Bonya Ahmed is a humanist activist, author, and moderator at the award-winning Bengali blog Muktomona. She works as a Senior Director in the Finance industry in the USA. She is the widow of Dr. Avijit Roy, a well known writer, blogger, and activist who founded Muktomona as the first online platform for Bengali speaking freethinkers. Roy and Ahmed were brutally attacked in the middle of the street by Islamic fundamentalists during a book signing trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 26, 2015. Dr. Roy was hacked to death, and Ms. Ahmed was gravely injured. The same fundamentalist terrorist group killed 4 other bloggers and activists, a university professor and one of Avijit’s publishers since. Bangladeshi Government has been reluctant to bring these killers to justice. Since the attack Ms. Ahmed has been working with international and local communities to help Bengali bloggers and activists. She is dedicated to drawing attention to the growing culture of impunity in Bangladesh.