Panic grips priests in Bangladesh after repeated attacks

November 23, 2015 OPINION/NEWS


Sheuli Akter

Panic has gripped priests in Bangladesh over repeated murders and secret attacks recently.

Christian missionaries are particularly now more in a state of panic after two priests including an Italian narrowly escaped attacks on their lives recently.

At least a dozen others have reportedly received death threats in a little over a week.

The Islamic State on Thursday claimed responsibility for the shooting of an Italian missionary in Bangladesh, the fifth attack in recent months the militants state they had carried out in the country.

Some priests say they received text messages on their phones to prepare for death.

“Eat whatever you like the most. Only five days are left. Not more than that,” leading local newspaper The Daily Star in a report on Friday quoted an SMS received by a priest as saying.

Accorfing to the newspaper report, the mobile SMSs received by the other four had almost identical texts.

“I really am scared. Now I have limited my movement to the church compound,” the priest was quoted as saing in the report. Most of them have reportedly restricted their movements.

According to the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) the country has around 3,000 churches served by as many priests including foreigners.

At the latest incident unknown gunmen on Wednesday shot an Italian doctor-cum-pastor Piero Parolari in Dinajpur.

Earlier on October 5, pastor Luke Sarkar escaped an attempt on his life when three suspected radicals tried to slit his throat in the countyr’s Pabna district.

Parolari is now out of danger but still under treatment at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka while Luke fled the area on October 28 without informing anyone of his whereabouts.

The attack on priests followed the killing of an Italian aid worker in late September and a Japanese citizen in early October in Bangladesh.

Both were also claimed by the Islamic State.

The Muslim-majority country also suffered a rising tide of Islamist violence in recent times when five secular writers including a US citizen of Bangladesh origin were hacked to death.






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Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.


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