Bangladesh: Islamic State claims machete murder of English professor

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the murder of a professor of English in Bangladesh.Reuters

A professor of English in the north-west of Bangladesh was hacked to death on Saturday in a murder that echoes other killings by Islamic extremists.

Islamic State said it was behind the death of Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, 58.

Siddiquee taught at Rajshahi University and was the founder of a music school and a magazine. He was attacked with machetes by at least two men on a motorbike near his house as he left for work.

There have been at least six other murders of secular activists and bloggers in Bangladesh during the last year and religious minorities have also been targeted. Hussein Ali, a Christian, was also killed by men on a motorbike in a similar attack last month.

Siddiquee's daughter Rizwana Hasin told the BBC her father was not an atheist and she did not know why he was targeted. However, extremist groups are known to be hostile to culture and his musical and literary interests may have been enough for them.

Siddiquee is the fourth professor at the university to be killed in recent years. His students held a protest after his death, but hard-line Islamist groups have a significant presence on the campus.

Though Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the death, the Bangladesh government has denied that either it or al Qaeda groups have a presence in the country, blaming home-grown militants for the violence. At least five extremists have been killed in shootouts since November as security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamists looking to establish a sharia-based Muslim state.