UCA News

Bangladesh

Christian hacked to death in Bangladesh

Killing resembles recent attacks on religious minorities, police say

ucanews.com reporters, Kurigram and Dhaka

ucanews.com reporters, Kurigram and Dhaka

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Christian hacked to death in Bangladesh

Relatives of Hossain Ali react to the news of his of murder in Kurigram district on March 22. (Photo by Yousuf Alamgir)

Share this article :
Police are hunting for the killers of a Christian man hacked to death in northwestern Bangladesh on March 22.

The murder was the latest in a series of attacks on religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country.

Three attackers rode up on motorbikes and repeatedly stabbed Hossain Ali, 68, while he was taking a regular morning walk in Kurigram district.

They then fled after detonating two small homemade bombs as local people tried to help the victim, police said.

Ali, a retired Family Planning Department official, also fought against Pakistani troops in Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971.  

Once a Muslim, he and his family converted to Christianity, joining the local Presbyterian Church in 1999.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the killing.

"We have detained three people for questioning. Detectives are working with us to get evidence and clues," Jamir Uddin, the Kurigram police station chief told ucanews.com.

Police said they are still in the dark about the motive, but said the killing was similar to the recent murder of a Shia cleric, a Hindu priest and several atheist bloggers carried out by suspected Islamic militants.

"It is too early to say whether religious extremists or personal enmity were behind the killing," said Tobarok Ullah, the Kurigram district police chief.

The local Presbyterian Church condemned the killing.    

"He was a man of goodness and simplicity. We are still wondering why he should be targeted for such a heinous murder," Forkan Al-Masih, the pastor of the church told ucanews.com.

"We demand a thorough investigation and justice. We also want assurances the local Christian community is protected," Masih said.

A spate of attacks on religious minorities shows a failure by the authorities to protect them, which taints the country’s image as a secular state, a Catholic Church official said March 23.

"We live in a secular state but religious minorities continue to be targeted and the government is failing protect them. It is embarrassing and condemnable," Theophil Nokrek, secretary of the Bangladesh Catholic bishops' Justice and Peace Commission told ucanews.com.

"The government and law enforcers should not take this incident as a sporadic case of violence against minorities, but should take immediate measures to ensure justice and stop the crimes re-occurring," he added.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh has seen upsurge in violence against minorities such as Shia and Ahamadiyya Muslims, Hindus and Christians, including foreigners targeted by alleged Islamic militants.

An Italian missionary Father Piero Parolari escaped death after being shot in Dinajpur, in northern Bangladesh on Nov. 18, while a Protestant minister Luke Sarkar also survived a murder attempt in Pabna district on Oct. 5.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."