Social influencers call to assassinate anti-Islamist ‘apostate’

The two influencers have declared that Asad Noor, a well-known counter-Islamist currently in exile from his native Bangladesh, should be assassinated.

By Dexter Van Zile, Managing Editor, Focus on Western Islamism 

Two social media influencers currently living in England and France have taken to the internet to call for the murder of a leading human rights activist. The two influencers have declared that Asad Noor, a well-known counter-Islamist currently in exile from his native Bangladesh, should be killed if he can be found.

In response to the threats, Noor, a prominent counter-Islamist who has written for Focus on Western Islamism (FWI), is asking Westerners to alert authorities in Europe on his behalf. Noor has also been threatened repeatedly by Islamists based in Bangladesh, he told FWI.

“Today or tomorrow, I might be killed by one of them,” Noor said in a video documenting Islamist threats against his life. “However, if one day you find yourself speaking out against child marriage or rejecting support for Sharia law, you might face the same brutal fate within your country.”

The first threat from Europe against Noor came on August 8, 2023, when a young man who goes by the name of Bijoy Hossain Tanjil posted a video on Facebook of himself walking the streets of Paris. In the now-deleted video, Tanjil declared, “If I get a hold of [Noor] I will kill him and make a video in TikTok.” Tanjil’s TikTok account boasts almost 250,000 followers.

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“An atheist like Asad Noor has no right to be alive in Bangladesh!” he declared. Tanjil acknowledged, and subsequently ignored, an FWI request for comment.

On August 10, a self-styled comedian who uses the name Farhan Choudhury and posts on Facebook under the moniker “Sorry8” published a now-deleted video of himself sitting in a car with two friends. According to a translation of the video provided by Noor (and verified by MEF), the video explicitly calls for Noor to be murdered.

After condemning Noor for leaving Islam and criticizing the faith after his departure, the London-based Choudry, whose Facebook account has 174,000 followers, asks, “What shall we do with [apostates like Noor]?”

One friend declares, “We should cut off their tongue so that they don’t criticize our beloved Muhammad in the future.” The other friend then states, “Asad Noor’s hands should be chopped off so that he cannot write anything in any language about our beloved Muhammad. His legs should also be chopped off.”

Choudhury, who has not responded to an FWI email requesting comment, ends the video by declaring that Noor should be killed “just like Samuel Paty [the school teacher] who was beheaded in France for criticizing Islam. Asad Noor’s hands and legs should be broken.”

After learning of the videos, Noor conducted a livestream during which he asked the people who threatened him to take down the videos and apologize. Speaking with FWI, Noor said he gave them 12 hours to respond to his request before contacting activists and journalists in the West to alert them to the videos. Noor said he wanted to give them a chance to do the right thing before his supporters in Europe started to contact law enforcement officials in England and France to begin a process that could end in their deportation. The people who threatened him may be the only source of income for their families living in Bangladesh, Noor said.

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“I didn’t want to harm those people,” Noor said. In response to the request, the Paris-based Tanjil posted a now-deleted video in which he asked how Noor could even dare to make such a request and declared that he would come to Bangladesh to kill him. (FWI has copies of all the deleted videos.)

Hurting Muslims ‘with the support of the Jews’

Noor said the people in Europe were likely inspired by an ongoing wave of threats and hostility directed at him by Islamists in Bangladesh. Anayetullah Abbasi, an Islamist preacher who was the subject of an article Noor wrote for FWI in June, is one Noor’s most vocal tormentors. Abbasi, who has regularly demonized Jews and homosexuals, was prevented from completing a recent speaking tour in England after his hateful views were highlighted in the local press.

Abassi’s anger over being sent back to Bangladesh and Noor’s coverage of the controversy likely prompted him to initiate a campaign of incitement against him, Noor concludes.

In a video originally posted on Facebook on August 12, Abassi laid out the case in favor of Noor’s execution, stating that he had made remarks against Mohammad and the Koran and is constantly hurting Muslims “with the support of the Jews.” If asked for a judgement, Abassi said, “I would have immediately made a judgement … and killed him with my own hands.” Abassi lamented that Noor remains hidden and protected from punishment but said that “when he is located… he will not survive.”

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Abassi has since removed the video but affirmed his statement that Noor must be executed for his atheism in a Facebook post.

Noor said he will not back down in the face of the threats against him and the hostility directed at him through his Facebook page, which has more than 500,000 followers, most of them Islamists. Just recently, he produced a video documenting the Islamist hostility promoted by Bangladeshi imam Mizanur Rahman Azhari demonstrating that for Noor, the work continues even in the face of death threats.

“It’s part of my life,” he said. “I can’t delete my page. I can’t stop blogging.”