In memory of Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar
LGBT activists in Bangladesh
Murdered April 25, 2016
I light a memorial candle for Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar, who were hacked to death for being “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh” on April 25 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The militant Islamist militant group Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for murder in the south Asian nation, calling it a “blessed attack.”
Xulhaz Mannan was editor of Roopbaan, Bangladesh’s first and only LGBT magazine, and also an employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Before that he worked for eight years as protocol specialist at the a U.S. Embassy. He tried to organize a Rainbow Rally for LGBT youths on April 14, the Bengali New Year, but was stopped by officials. His friend Tanay Mojumdar was a theater and TV actor who sometimes helped with publishing the magazine.
Roopban was launched in 2014 to promote greater acceptance of LGBT people in Bangladesh.
Mannan had written openly about the frustration of living “in the closet” as a gay man in Bangladesh, where homosexual relations are considered a crime. In a May 2014 blog, he said gays and lesbians in Bangladesh experience “A country where the predominant religions say you are a sinner, the law of the land says you are a criminal, the social norms say you are a pervert, the culture considers you as imported.”
Mannon and his friend were killed a gang who got into his apartment by posing as messengers. Witnesses reported that the attackers yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) as they left.
____ This post is part of the GLBT Saints series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints, martyrs, mystics, prophets, witnesses, heroes, holy people, humanitarians, deities and religious figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and queer people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.
KITTREDGE CHERRY is a lesbian Christian author who writes regularly about LGBT spirituality and the arts for the Jesus in Love Blog. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer, advocating for LGBT rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches. She holds degrees in religion, journalism and art history. Her most recent book is The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision. (Read IMPACT’s review of her book here).