BANGLADESH – Islamic State kills Christian convert as a ‘lesson to others’
Hussein Ali , who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1999, was stabbed to death in Bangladesh by suspected Islamic militants. While 68-year-old Hussein was taking his regular morning walk in the town of Kurigram, three attackers approached him on a motorbike and stabbed him in the neck.
Hussein Ali had been aware of the dangers he faced and prayed for protection. He once told a member of staff from Redcliffe College in Gloucester: “They don’t know anything, they don’t understand, forgive them.” He prayed that God would “place me under Your control”.
Kurigram district police chief Tobarak Ullah said “He died on the spot. The attackers exploded a molotov cocktail to create panic and left the scene on a motorcycle.” Initially police were uncertain whether Islamist militants had carried out the attack, but the pattern of killing bore the hallmarks of recent attacks by Islamist extremists. Three men were later picked up for questioning.
After the attack, Islamic State posted on Twitter that a “security detachment” killed the “preacher” to be a “lesson to others”, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, an online group that monitors extremist activity.
Bangladesh has seen a surge in Islamist violence in which liberal activists, atheist bloggers, members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted.
Over the last few months, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several killings including two foreigners, a Shiite convert from Sunni Islam in the southwestern town of Kaliganj and an alleged Christian convert.
However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has denied IS has a presence in the country and police say domestic militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen is behind the attacks.
At least five militants of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen have been killed in shootouts since November, as security forces have stepped up a crackdown on militants seeking to make the moderate Muslim nation of 160 million a Sharia-based state. It has been said that Bangladesh may drop Islam as state religion amid Islamist attacks against minorities.