Bangladesh sees rise in Islamist violence

A Bangladeshi pastor has escaped an attempt on his life by three men who came to his home saying they wanted to learn about Christianity, the Bangladeshi police said. The attack on the pastor follows last week’s fatal attacks on two foreigners. Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country, has seen a sharp rise in violence by hardline Islamist groups. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government rejected those claims, saying it has information tying the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party and its key ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, to the attacks.

 

A Bangladeshi pastor has escaped an attempt on his life by three men who came to his home saying they wanted to learn about Christianity, the Bangladeshi police said. The attack on the pastor follows last week’s fatal attacks on two foreigners. Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country, has seen a sharp rise in violence by hardline Islamist groups.

Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks on the foreigners, one on a Japanese agricultural worker and the other on an Italian aid worker. The claims by ISIS have been dismissed by the Bangladeshi government. Government and law enforcement charge that the attacks were perpetrated by elements associated with the opposition which is trying to destabilize the country. 

The pastor, Luke Sarker, 52, suffered only minor injuries in the Monday attack, when three young men attacked him with a knife at his home in the north-western district of Pabna. The area’s senior police official, Siddikur Rahman, said police had no clues yet about the identities of the three men but suspect they could be members of a fundamentalist group.

VOA reports that Bangladesh has been struggling in recent months with a rise in violence by hardline Islamic groups. The government has banned several organizations which have been blamed for killing four secular bloggers this year. Islamic State issued a statement claiming responsibility for the 28 September killing of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, and for Saturday’s attack on the Japanese agricultural worker.

The Bangladeshi home minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, rejected those claims, saying the government has information tying the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party and its key ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, to the attacks.

A spokesman for the BNP denied the charges.

 

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