WASHINGTON - Human-rights groups on Monday urged the United States to offer emergency sanctuary to Bangladeshi writers targeted by Islamic extremists for their secular beliefs following a wave of killings that have fueled concern over rising radicalism in the South Asian nation.
A coalition of rights organizations, led by the PEN American Center, made the appeal in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
They warned that a group of writers, bloggers, and publishers are in "urgent danger." Four bloggers and a publisher have been killed this year, and dozens more have been publicly threatened.
Bangladesh is a Muslim country with traditions of secularism and tolerance. But a Dec. 8 report on violent extremism prepared for the U.S. Agency for International Development says that since 2013 "there seems to be greater acceptance of the militant groups" within Bangladesh.