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‘Islamists’ Slay US-Employed Bangladeshi Gay-Rights Activist

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So far no one has claimed responsibility for the April 25 stabbing to death of two men in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

Police officers identified the victims as USAID employee and editor of the country’s first gay-rights magazine Xulhaz Mannan and his friend and local police officer Tanay Majumder.

The incident, assumed by police to have been carried out by Islamists, follows the murder of university professor Rezaul Karim Siddique three days earlier in Rajshahi, in the country’s northwest. ISIS said it was behind that killing.

Mannan and other unnamed LGBT campaigners launched Roopbaan magazine in January 2014.

“The main reason for this publication is to promote love,” the editor said at the launch party for the magazine, “promoting love and promoting the right to love. The audience for love is huge and that’s who this is for.

“I feel that I have a relationship with every line and letter in this magazine. A relationship that has cast such an influence on me.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Muslim Bangladesh, with those arrested facing likely imprisonment.

On its website, Boys of Bangladesh urges homosexuals not to be afraid, saying it is in contact with “powerful people” to seek change in the country:

“…we envision a world free of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation enabling every LGBT individual to enjoy the blessing of life, love and companionship. …We hope Bangladesh would soon start talking about real LGBT issues and eventually take a bold positive step towards building a better society free of any kind of stigma and discrimination.”

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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