Mahamood Rakibul Hasan has spent the last 17 months hiding away from Nepalese authorities, fearful of being deported back to Bangladesh, his home country, from where he had fled in April last year after Islamists had threatened to kill him for being gay.
Hasan, also known as Rakib, has been living illegally in Nepal while waiting to hear from the Canadian government over his asylum request.
“There was no stopping the killing of freethinkers, atheist writers and intellectuals by the Islamic fundamental groups and the state authority was a mere spectator. LGBTI activists were targeted claiming homosexuality was against Islam,” Rakib told EFE.
Rakib was among the many who were on the hit list of Islamist extremists who in 2013 started attacking intellectuals, religious minorities, homosexuals and foreigners in Bangladesh.
So far, more than 70 people have been killed, including those who were killed at a Dhaka restaurant in July 2016. On April 1, 2016 – on the eve of the Rainbow pride parade –, Rakib and other members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) group got death threats, leading to the cancelation of the event.
Many people who were working with Rakib in an LGBT publication also went into hiding. Five days after Rakib left Bangladesh, Xulhaz Mannan, editor of the Mahbub Joney magazine, was hacked to death.
“I would have been the next target if I was there,” Rakib said.
Rakib’s story, however, is not unusual; it is the story of almost every homosexual youth in Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country, where homosexuality is frowned upon.