DHAKA, Bangladesh, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A hit list, published by an Islamist sect in Bangladesh, promises to kill writers and bloggers around the world who are critical of Islam.
The list was included in an Internet manifesto by the Ansarullah Bangla Team, a group believed responsible for the murders of Bangladeshi writers self-identified as atheists or critics of extreme religious doctrines. ABT members were charged with the killing of Washiqur Rahman, 27, in Dhaka in March, and the February murder of Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, prompted international outrage.
The list, which includes nine bloggers in the United Kingdom, seven in Germany, two in the United States, one in Canada and one in Sweden, can be regarded as an attempt by the group to intimidate writers outside Bangladesh.
"Let Bangladesh revoke the citizenship of these enemies of Islam," the statement reads. "If not, we will hunt them down in whatever part of God's world we find them and kill them right there."
Another group, Ansar al Islam Bangladesh, published an enemies' list of writers last year, and blogger Asif Mohiudddin, whose name was on the list, noted at least nine of those mentioned had been brutally killed, and many others attacked.
The threats began in 2013, said Imran Sarker of the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, ""when the liberal bloggers got united and started a movement against radicalization of the society by the militant groups."
Thomas Hughes, director of Article 19, a blogger's rights group, commented, "This international threat to writers and bloggers is an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression. Such threats often have a chilling effect on expression, encouraging individuals and organizations to self-censor for fear of violent reprisal."