The slaying of
Xulhaz Mannan, editor of Bangladesh's first magazine for gay,
bisexual and transgender people, has deeply shocked Bangladesh's
embattled community of liberal intellectuals.
Mannan, 35, was hacked to death on Monday in his apartment in
the capital Dhaka by a group of assailants posing as couriers.
His friend, actor Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, 25, was killed in the same
attack, according to police.
A Twitter handle identifying itself as an outlet of Ansar Al
Islam said its fighters had killed the two, denouncing them as
"the pioneers of practicing (sic) and promoting homosexuality in
"They were working day and night to promote homosexuality among
the people of this land ... with the help of their masters, the
U.S. crusaders and their Indian allies," read the statement
signed by spokesman Mufti Abdullah Ashraf.
Ansar Al Islam, which is part of al Qaeda in the Indian
Subcontinent, has issued similar claims in the past, according
to a Bangladeshi security expert. The authenticity of the claim
of responsibility could not immediately be verified.
Maruf Hossain Sardar, spokesman for Dhaka city police, dismissed
the group's claim as baseless, saying international militant
groups like Islamic State and al Qaeda had no organizational
base in Bangladesh.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul and Serajul Quadir; Writing by Douglas
Busvine; Editing by Mike Collett-White)
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