These Are The LGBT Activists Hacked To Death By Al-Qaeda In Bangladesh
Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mahbub were killed in Dhaka. One man has been arrested in connection with their deaths.
Bangladeshi LGBT activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mahbub were killed on Monday when a group of men wielding machetes barged into Mannan's home in Dhaka. A day after the killings, al-Qaeda's Bangladeshi branch claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mannan, 39, the editor of Roopbaan magazine, the country's only LGBT publication, also worked for USAID, the U.S government agency responsible for foreign aid. Mahbub, 25, was also involved in the magazine. Their murder was the latest in a series of attacks against secular journalists, bloggers, and academics by Islamist groups that have rocked the country over the past year. ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the majority of these attacks, has recently identified Bangladesh as a prime target for the group's expansion.
While the killing of Mannan and Mahbub has received condemnation from the international community, it has also brought a new level of fear among Bangladesh's LGBT community, who already live under fear of violence and arrests.
"Mr. Xulhaz Mannan was the most powerful gay man in Bangladesh, so when he can get killed, so we can also be killed [and] nobody will even notice that we are dead," said a 30-year-old queer activist in Bangladesh who asked not to be named out of fear for his safety. "He was like Harvey Milk ... he used to give shelter to LGBTI people in his house, he used to give us hope, give us inspiration, and as a community leader, he used to organize various events which empowered us."
Below, in his own words, a photographer who wanted to be identified only as TB because he wanted to protect his identity to be able to work inside Bangladesh, shares his images and recollections of Mannan and Mahbub with BuzzFeed News.
Others who appear in these photographs have been obscured or removed for their safety.