Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for machete killing of LGBT editor

Xulhaz Mannan

Xulhaz Mannan

The Bangladeshi arm of al-Qaeda says that it was responsible for hacking to death the editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine.

On Monday, Xulhaz Mannan, 35, was ambushed in his apartment in the capital Dhaka by a group of men posing as couriers.

His friend Tanay Majumde was also murdered in the machete attack.

The militant Islamist group confirmed in a tweet on Thursday that the victims were targeted because of their LGBT activism.

They were killed, it said, because they were “pioneers of practising and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh”.

The tweet also stated that the two activists were “working day and night to promote homosexuality”.

Local police, who’ve been accused of failing to investigate similar extremist attacks, said in a statement that they hope “to capture the culprits at the shortest possible time”.

In addition to editing the magazine Roopban, described as “a platform and publication promoting human right and freedom to love in Bangladesh,” Mannan also worked at the US Embassy for USAID.

His killing comes amidst rising religious extremism in Bangladesh and a spate of killings of activists although this is the first time that Islamic militants have specifically targeted LGBT activists.

Homosexual relations are criminalised in Bangladesh and are punishable with fines and up to life imprisonment. According to Amnesty International, instead of protecting LGBT people, the Bangladeshi authorities have urged them to be “less provocative”.

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