A noted Bangladeshi author was attacked during his seminar by a man who termed the secular writer as an ‘enemy of Islam’.

The attack took place on Saturday in the northern city of Sylhet, where Zafar Iqbal had gone to deliver a talk. While he was there, a 21-year-old man, identified as Faizul Hasan, stabbed the author in the head, causing mayhem at the scene. The attack is just a latest episode in a series of stabbings of secular or atheist authors and bloggers in the Muslim-majority country.

After the incident, Iqbal was flown to a military hospital in Dhaka with stab wounds to his head. He is now said to be in stable condition and is under heavy protection.

Meanwhile police detained Hasan, who is said to be a former madrassa students and are investigating whether he has any ties to the radical groups. His father was also a religious teacher at one of the seminaries.

Colonel Ali Haider Azad Ahmed from the elite Rapid Action Battalion unit said Hasan told investigators it was “his duty as a Muslim to resist those who work against Islam”.

“He has said Dr Zafar Iqbal is an enemy of Islam,” Ahmed said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also weighed in on the incident and blamed ‘religious fanatics’ for the attack. Her government has waged a war against the homegrown extremism in the country.

Hasina urged Bangladeshis to remain alert to the threat of extremism.

“Those responsible for these incidents have become religious fanatics,” she said Sunday, adding, “They think that they’ll go to a heaven, but they will actually go to hell, because no one goes to heaven by killing a human being.”

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