Rafida Bonya Ahmed

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Bonya Ahmed

Rafida Bonya Ahmed (Bengali: রাফিদা আহমেদ বন্যা, b. 1969),[1] is a Bangladeshi-American author, humanist activist, and blogger.[2]

On February 26, 2015, Bonya and her husband Avijit Roy were attacked by machete wielding Islamic extremists while they were visiting Dhaka, Bangladesh, on a book signing trip. They were attacked in the middle of the street at a very crowded book fair. Avijit died after he was taken to the hospital, and Bonya was seriously injured.[3][4]

Life and work[change | change source]

Ahmed talks about human rights in London in 2017.

Bonya was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She completed her undergraduate degree in Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Bonya met Avijit through their writing on Mukto-Mona, the first online platform for Bengali speaking freethinkers, atheists, and secular bloggers and writers founded by Avijit. This group started the first celebration of Darwin Day in Bangladesh.[2] Mukto-Mona was internationally recognized in 2015 and received The BOBS jury award.[5] Bonya wrote one of the first popular science books in Bangladesh about biological evolution, named Bibortoner Path Dhore ("Along the Evolutionary Path", 2007).[6] She is one of the moderators of Mukto-Mona.

Bonya has a daughter, Trisha Ahmed, from her first marriage. Trisha wrote an article with her stepfather Avijit for the Free Inquiry magazine about imprisoned secularist bloggers.[7] Ahmed has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.[8]

Bonya decided to take a leave of absence from her job as a Senior Director at a credit bureau in the USA after the attack on her and Avijit. She started working with the humanist associations in Europe and the USA to raise awareness about the attacks on the secular intellectuals in Bangladesh by Islamic fundamentalists.[8] She is currently doing research work on Islamic fundamentalism as a visiting research scholar at University of Texas, Austin. A week after her husband's death, Bonya started meeting with humanist associations in Europe, and working to get other activists out of Bangladesh, before they could be killed.[9]

In 2016, Bonya received the Freedom From Religion Foundation's "Forward" award.[10] She is on the jury of Deutsche Welle's The BOBS Best of Online Activism Award.[11]

Works and activism[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]