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It was three years ago today when Dr. Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi atheist activist and prolific writer, was slaughtered outside a book fair in Dhaka by Islamic radicals unable to deal with his alleged blasphemy.

His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, was also a target of the terrorists, but she survived the attack. She’s been speaking out against the Bangladeshi government’s inaction ever since. (In 2016, the police shot and killed the man who murdered Roy.)

Today, on the third anniversary of his death, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has announced a new award for activism in Roy’s honor:

The Avijit Award will be given to a person who has been working toward the spread of rational and logical discourse, toward diminishing the influence of regressive fundamentalist religious thinking, toward building a society based on humane laws and without discrimination. The Award will recognize creative and heroic people, who — in spite of facing numerous hurdles that may include a threat to their personal lives — have persisted in their work through writing, artistic projects, activism or other means of expression to promote science, logic and humane ideas.

“We are honored to be part of this overdue memorial to Avijit Roy and to be working with his widow, Bonya, who is continuing in Avijit’s footsteps to ensure Muktomona continues, and who has personally done so much to ensure the safety of other endangered Bangladeshis,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

This is a wonderful way to remember the man who did so much to promote logic and reason in a country that, despite its secular democracy, often functions as a theocracy.

FFRF and Ahmed will be working together to raise funds, choose the criteria, and pick the winner(s).

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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