SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: November 15, 2014

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Rajshahi University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 15, 2014, Shafiul Islam, a professor of sociology at Rajshahi University in Bangladesh, was attacked while on his route home by a group of individuals wielding blunt objects.  He was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
As of this report, police have reportedly arrested twenty suspects in connection with the case.  A group calling itself Ansar al Islam Bangladesh-2 took responsibility for the killing on its Facebook page, alleging that Professor Islam was an “apostate.” According to the group, Professor Islam was murdered in retaliation for his role in a campus dispute four years earlier, regarding the banning of face veils from classrooms and examination halls.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently targeted killing of a professor. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.