AL Qaeda claims murder of blogger Avijit Roy

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Dhaka: Asim Umar, the Indian-born head of AL-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks that have claimed the lives of several secular writers and intellectuals in Bangladesh and Pakistan, including the prominent writer and secular activist Avijit Roy who was hacked to death on a Dhaka street in February.

“Like the companions of the Prophet who defended him with their lives,” Umar said in a statement that released online over the weekend, “the mujaheddin of AL-Qaeda have dispatched to hell many who blasphemed against God, and insulted the Prophet.”

In addition to Roy, Umar named slain Bangladeshi intellectual Ahmad Rajib Haidar and Rajshahi University scholar AKM Shaiful Islam as victims of AL-Qaeda hit squads. His statement also claimed the killing of Karachi University Islamic Studies scholar Shakeel Auj, assassinated last year while on his way to a meeting with Iranian diplomats. Auj had been condemned by Islamist clerics in Karachi for is purportedly blasphemous views.