UCA News

Islamic State claims responsibility for shooting priest

Bangladesh's Catholic bishops call extremist links a 'grave concern'
Islamic State claims responsibility for shooting priest

An Italian priest sits wounded in a hospital after being shot in Dinajpur, some 350 kilometers north of Dhaka, on Nov. 18. (Photo by AFP)

Published: November 20, 2015 10:46 AM GMT
Updated: November 20, 2015 12:02 AM GMT

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for shooting an Italian Catholic priest in Bangladesh, the latest in a series of attacks on foreigners in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

Father Parolari Piero, 64, from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was shot several times in the neck and head by three attackers in northern Dinajpur town on Nov. 18.

"Security detachments of soldiers of the caliphate in Bangladesh carried out some unique operations (including) ... targeting the Italian crusader foreigner," the jihadist group said in a statement, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence group, which monitors jihadist activities online. 

The jihadist group earlier claimed responsibility for the murder of Italian aid worker Cesare Tabella on Sept. 28 in Dhaka, and the fatal shooting of a Japanese man on Oct. 3 in northern Rangpur district.

The group has also taken credit for bombing a major Shiite gathering in Dhaka on Oct. 24, which killed two and injured dozens of others.

After the Nov. 18 attack, Father Piero underwent surgery in Dinajpur Medical College Hospital, but was later flown to Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka for better treatment.

In Dinajpur, police detained 11 members of the hard-line Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party for questioning over Father Piero’s attack.

Police have tightened security in all churches and the homes of foreign missionaries since the attack, said Dinajpur police chief Ruhul Amin.

"The (Islamic State) claim of attacking Father Piero is shocking and a matter of concern for us. We have been living in fear and restricted our movements since the attack," said Father Anthony Sen, parish priest of Queen of Fatima Church in Thakurgaon district in Dinajpur Diocese.

On Nov. 18, hundreds of Catholics staged a demonstration in northern Rajshahi to protest the attack.

The Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission and the Bangladesh Christian Association will jointly hold a protest rally on Nov. 21 in Dhaka.

"We don’t know what the extremists want to achieve by attacking the church and missionaries but it has become a matter of grave concern. We ask the government to investigate the case properly and punish the attackers, no matter who they are," said Theophil Nokrek, secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission.

Attacks on Christians and priests are rare in Bangladesh. However, in early October, a Bangladeshi Protestant pastor narrowly escaped death after three members of the banned local militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh tried to slit his throat.

Once considered a moderate Muslim-majority country, Bangladesh has seen a rising tide of radical Islamist violence in recent times.

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia