A Bangladeshi Baptist pastor escaped an attempt on his life today (5 Oct.) in what seemed to have been a pre-meditated attack at his home by three youths.
Luke Sarkar, 50, of the Faith Bible Church of God, told bdnews24 that two weeks ago two youths had phoned him to say they were interested in hearing his sermons. Earlier today three youths arrived by motorcycle at his home in Pabna, a town in the north-western part of the country, unannounced, and carried out the attack. “The three sat [in] the drawing room for a while. Then they suddenly attacked me and tried to slit my throat with a knife.”
Bdnews24 also said that “some radical militant group might have carried out this attack”.
The attack comes a week after an Italian aid worker was shot and killed in the capital, Dhaka, when three men rode by him on a motorcycle. On Friday 2 October, a Japanese businessman, Kunio Hoshi, 66, was shot dead in Rangpur, over 200 miles north of Dhaka, again by men on a motorcycle. A group claiming to be Islamic State claimed both deaths, and warned of continuing “security operations” against nationals of crusader coalition countries’. Locals showed photos of Mr Hoshi in the mosque, saying he’d converted to Islam three months ago.
There has been a rise in extremist Islamist violence this year in Bangladesh; four secular bloggers have been hacked to death, including a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin.
Christians form a tiny minority of the population; about 90 per cent of Bangladeshis are Muslim, with about nine per cent Hindu. Bangladesh officially has freedom of religion, but this has been gradually eroding.