A Bangladeshi gay rights activist was murdered Monday in Dhaka by suspected Islamist militants. (UPDATE: Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar-al Islam claimed credit for the attack early Tuesday.)
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Xulhaz Mannan, 35, and a friend, Tanay Majumder, were hacked to death by at least six attackers, a local detective told NBC News. Mannan was the editor of Roopbaan, the only LGBT-oriented magazine in Bangladesh, and before joining the United States Agency for International Development in September, Mannan spent eight years as a protocol specialist at the U.S. Embassy. "He was the kind of person willing to fight for what he believed in, someone ready to stand up for his own rights and the rights of others," USAID said in a statement.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said Mannan was a "staunch defender of LGBT rights." There have been several knife attacks against liberal activists and members of minority Muslim sects in Bangladesh, and two days ago, the Islamic State took credit for an attack that left a university professor dead. The Dhaka detective told NBC News that a man pretending to have a delivery for Mannan summoned him to the entrance of his apartment building. Once Mannan and his friend arrived, five other men rushed out and attacked them. A guard was injured when he tried to help. Catherine Garcia