Johns Hopkins student is daughter of blogger slain in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi activist sets up a light on a poster displaying a portrait of Avijit Roy as others gather during a Feb. 27 protest of the blogger's slaying in Dhaka the night before.

The daughter of a prominent blogger slain in Bangladesh Friday is a Johns Hopkins University student, university officials confirmed Monday.

Freshman Trisha Ahmed is the daughter of Avijit Roy, an atheist who had denounced Muslim extremism and called for greater religious tolerance in his homeland of Bangladesh.


"We have expressed to Trisha the deep sorrow of her friends and the entire university community for the great loss she has suffered. As a university and as a community, we embrace her and stand ready to provide her with any needed support," the university said in a statement.

Roy, a naturalized American citizen who lived in Athens, Ga., was visiting Bangladesh to attend a book fair with his wife, Rafida Ahmed. An engineer by training, Roy created an online community of atheists and free thinkers of South Asian descent.


The couple was attacked as they left the book fair.  Assailants wielding meat cleavers killed Roy and left his wife seriously injured.

Bangladeshi authorities arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman on Monday in connection with the killing. Rahman, a Muslim blogger who denounced atheism, had made threats to kill Roy when he was in the country.

Ahmed is traveling, a Hopkins official said, and not available to comment.

In 2013, Ahmed, then a high school senior, and her father published an essay in "Free Inquiry" magazine defending Bangladeshi atheists who had been jailed for their beliefs.

"Nonbelievers are not only valuable contributors to society; they also constitute a large fraction of the world's intellectual and academic community," father and daughter wrote.

"Whether it is a courageous sixteen-year-old from Rhode Island or a group of individualistic bloggers on the other side of the world, we should never belittle the endeavors of bold human beings to create rational, secular, and freethinking communities," they wrote.