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It was just over two years ago when 58-year-old Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique (below) was hacked to death with machetes on his way to work at Rajshahi University in Bangladesh. While his colleagues said “he never wrote or spoke against religion in public,” and while his daughter said he wasn’t even an atheist, the thinking was that an Islamist group assumed he wasn’t religious and killed him for it.

Eight men were eventually charged with the crime. All were associated with the indigenous terrorist group Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (while there are various spellings of the group, it’s known by the initials JMB).

Three of the men were killed in unrelated gunfights and raids in 2016. The other five were convicted. Of those five, three face life in prison while two, we learned today, will be hanged.

Shariful Islam, a former student at Siddique’s university, is one of the men scheduled for execution, though he’s “currently on the run,” according to local news reports.

It’s delayed justice for Siddique that these men are being punished at all — and I should mention that the death penalty creates more problems than it solves. If there’s any consolation, it’s that other alleged atheists in Bangladesh have been slaughtered with no justice whatsoever. At least law enforcement appears to be taking these crimes seriously. The more that happens, the less likely it becomes that we see more of these cowardly attacks on innocent people.

(Thanks to Brian for the link. This post has been updated with a comment on the problem with the death penalty.)

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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