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Leading atheist blogger stabbed in street

Fundamentalists blamed for vicious attack on anti-Islam critic

AFP, Dhaka

January 15, 2013

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A self-styled "militant atheist" who is famed for his anti-religious blogs was fighting for life Tuesday after he was stabbed in the capital of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, police and medics said.

Asif Mohiuddin, 29, was attacked on Monday night by three unidentified men near his office in Dhaka's upscale Uttara district.

"We operated on him for more than three hours. He is improving but still not out of danger. He has six deep cuts including two grave ones in the shoulder," said Haridas Saha, a surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

"The nature of the cuts proved that the attackers wanted to murder him," Saha said, adding that friends of Mohiuddin who were with him at the time of the attack blamed Islamic "fundamentalists".

Local police chief Rezaul Islam confirmed the attack but did not comment on the motive.

"The attackers were lurking near his office. He was attacked as he was about to enter the office. Passers-by rushed him to a hospital," Islam told reporters, adding police were investigating the motive.

Mohiuddin's blog has been one of the most visited webpages in Bangladesh and is known for its tirade against religions in one of the most conservative parts of the world.

His blog's title page called the god "Almighty only in name but impotent in reality".

In July last year, he ridiculed Muslims and the Qu'ran in a satirical piece on "the mass conversion of supermen to Islam". Ninety percent of Bangladesh's 153 million people are Muslims and Islam is the state religion.

Several other prominent Bangladeshi writers have also been attacked in recent years for their stand against Islam and Islamic groups.

Humayun Azad, a poet, novelist and literature professor, was attacked by members of an outlawed Islamic militant group for a satirical novel against fundamentalist groups in 2004. He later died in Germany. AFP

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