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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 299 > ”My friends are the heroes”

”My friends are the heroes”

Mazharul Islam had to escape Bangladesh when two of his friends and fellow LGBT+ activists were killed. After setting up a new life in London, he continues to fight for justice in his home country

Looking down at his hands, head slightly bowed, Mazharul Islam tells us he does not deserve an Attitude Pride Award. That honour, he says, should be bestowed on his late friends, Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy. They were hacked to death by machete-wielding Islamic militants posing as couriers at Xulhaz’s apartment in Bangladesh in 2016.

“They deserve this award,” he says soberly.

Everything Mazharul knew changed that fateful day when he was forced to flee from the Muslim-majority country where being gay is illegal and can lead to life imprisonment. “I had to leave immediately,” he remembers, “The US embassy made a list of the people whose lives were at risk — six of us – and took us to a safe house. No one knew about it, not even the Bangladesh government.

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About Attitude

On the cover: Mamma Mia! star Dominic Cooper and model Zander Hodgson Plus: meet the winners of the Attitude Pride Awards 2018, celebrate Madonna's 60th birthday with her most iconic moments, and Team GB's first karate world champion Jordan Thomas