Bangladesh Baptist Pastor Killed by Extremists after Attempt to Share Faith

A Baptist pastor and evangelist was found beheaded in Jalalpur, a village in the district of Khulna, south-western Bangladesh on 8th March and the murder was confirmed recently, according to AsiaNews.it.

The 35-year-old pastor from the Bangladesh Free Baptist Church, Dulal Sarkar, was believed to have been killed by Muslim extremists who had threatened his family because he discussed his faith with some Muslim villagers.

According to AsiaNews.it, Pastor Sarkar, who served as a guard and general caretaker for the local church, had attempted to evangelise Muslim villagers and brought them to his church to talk with the senior pastor.

The murder occurred on 8th March on his way home after he talked to some Muslim villagers. He was reported to have been attacked by group of armed men. Sources say that it was a group of ten local Muslim extremists who later "separated his head from his body", AsiaNews.it wrote.

Immediately after the murder, Pastor Sarkar’s wife filed a police report. Currently, seven out of the ten suspects are still free, according to AsiaNews.it. Local Christians believed that they are connected with the Jamaat-e-Islami political party and even tried to bribe the police to get the three detained members out of jail.

Pastor Sarkar’s wife has also now been threatened by the extremists and forced to move from house to house in an effort to protect herself and her children.

The Constitution of Bangladesh establishes Islam as the state religion and citizens are generally free to practice the religion of their choice. However, the number of Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist minorities who have experienced discrimination from the Muslim majority is increasing. The Government is being led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which heads a four-party coalition that includes two Islamic parties, Jamaat Islami and the Islami Okiyya Jote.

During a recent trip to Bangladesh, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev Dr Samuel Kobia highlighted the increasing acts of religious intolerance and violation of minority rights in the country.

After a meeting with the Bangladesh President Prof. Dr Iajjudin Ahmed, the President assured Kobia that terrorist activities are the responsibility of only a small group. He promised that the government is determined to prevent such activities and not to allow the extremists to have an impact.

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