Assailants shot and hacked to death the editor of Bangladesh’s only gay magazine, the latest in a series of attacks on liberal voices.
Xulhaz Mannan, 35, one of his country’s best-known gay rights activists, and a friend named Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were killed in Mannan’s home in the capital Dhaka, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing police authorities.
Witnesses said six men forced their way into the apartment after pretending to deliver a package.
The killings heightened fears of growing radicalization of fundamentalist Muslims in the South Asian nation.
The attack on Mannan, a US Agency for International Development employee, came less than 72 hours after a university professor was killed in a similar fashion in the northwest of the Muslim-majority country.
Islamic State issued a statement saying it was behind the assault, according to the SITE intelligence group, which monitors extremist activity.
Militants armed with machetes have killed at least six secular bloggers and activists in Bangladesh since 2014.
Extremist groups have accused the bloggers of ridiculing Islam and promoting homosexuality and promiscuity.
Asaduzzaman Mia, commissioner of police in Dhaka, said the investigation would focus on whether annan was killed because of his activism.
“A militant attack is one of the possibilities,” said Mia.
Mannan was the editor of Roopbaan, a magazine first published in 2014, which aims to break taboos surrounding homosexuality in socially conservative Bangladesh. Fear of social rejection and persecution force many gay men and lesbians here to conceal their sexual orientation.
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