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Islamist group who killed LGBTI activists banned in Bangladesh

Islamist group who killed LGBTI activists banned in Bangladesh

Murdered editor of Roopbaan, Xulhaz Mannan

The group responsible for the violent murder of Bangladeshi LGBTI activist Xulhaz Mannan has been banned by the government.

The Bangladeshi government officially outlawed Ansar al-Islam a militant Islamist group. It is the Bangladeshi chapter of Al-Qaeda in South Asia.

Ansar al-Islam was responsible for dozens of murders of war trial campaigners, LGBTI activists and secularists in the past few years.

The government’s ban means the group is not permitted to hold meetings, processions or preach its ideologies. Any breaches would be tried under Bangladesh’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

Mannan was a fearless LGBTI advocate

Xulhaz Mannan was the editor of the country’s first and only LGBTI magazine, Roopbaan.

He was hacked to death and shot by two men at an apartment in Dhaka in April last year.

Mannan’s friend, Tanay Mojumdar, who was with him in the apartment at the time was also murdered.

‘All activities of this group are banned because they constitute a threat to public order. Ansar al-Islam threatens peace and stability in Bangladesh,’ the Bangladesh Home Ministry said in a statement.

Ansar al-Islam has become the seventh militant group to be banned in Bangladesh, which has seen a rise in fundamentalist Islamic attacks in recent years.

Most of the attacks were carried out by DAESH and al-Qaeda who have focused most of their violence on their  academics, secularist bloggers, foreign nationals, priests, rights activists and people of minority faiths.

In the days leading up to Mannan’s death, he received multiple death threats and government intimidation.

Since his murder many LGBTI Bangladeshis have fled the country in fear of their lives.

Many LGBTI people in Bangladesh live in the closet because gay sex is outlawed in the majority Muslim country and is punishable by up to life in jail.