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Clash in Bangladesh injures 10 Christians

Muslims rage against ’drunken attack’ on mosque

St. Joseph’s Church at Solepur in Munshiganj district St. Joseph’s Church at Solepur in Munshiganj district
  • ucanews.com reporter, Munshiganj
  • Bangladesh
  • January 5, 2011
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Christians in Solepur in Dhaka archdiocese say they fear for their safety following a clash with Muslims that seriously injured 10 Catholics.

Violence flared on Jan. 2 after local Muslims accused “drunken Christians” of attacking their mosque with iron rods and sticks on New Year’s Day.

Police have increased patrols in the district southeast of Dhaka but they have failed to allay fears among local Christians.

“The situation is tense and we feel insecure. We have already issued a written appeal to the archbishop of Dhaka and the Bangladesh Christian Association to help restore peace in the area,” said Raphael Gomes, a parish council official from St. Joseph’s Church in Solepur.

A meeting between Muslims and Christians was held the day after the mosque attack, in which Christians asked for forgiveness for their behavior.

However, the Muslims demanded physical punishment and started beating Christians with iron rods, sticks and sharp weapons.

Three of the 10 injured Catholics were in critical condition in hospital.

A local source claimed drunken Christians, angered by a land dispute triggered the violent chain of events.

“Several Catholic youths were patrolling an area following a family dispute relating to a land sale. While on patrol they struck some trees with weapons,” said the source.

“But the Muslims claimed they [Christians] attacked their mosque,” he told ucanews.com.

Church sources accuse the Muslims of inciting the violence through an announcement over the mosque’s loudspeaker.
“Muslim brothers, Christians have attacked us, come forward to stop them,” the announcement allegedly said.

Mosque secretary, Hasem Bhuiyan, accused of making the announcement, denied the allegation. “No one said anything against Christians. We’re sorry about this unpleasant incident,” he told ucanews.com.

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BA12705.1635
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