Bangladesh: murdered Christian convert, 68, had spoken of risks he faced

Bangladeshis protest wave of Islamist militant violence. including attacks on mosques, Christian priests and Hindu temples.Reuters

A Christian convert in Bangladesh stabbed to death by suspected Islamic militants had spoken of the risks he ran and prayed for protection. 

Police said three attackers approached 68-year-old Hossain Ali on a motorbike while he was taking his regular morning walk in the town of Kurigram and then stabbed him in the neck.

A member of staff from Redcliffe College in Gloucester told Christian Today he had said: "Lord, look at this, they don't know anything, they don't understand, forgive them." He prayed that God would "place me under Your control".

The killing is the latest in a series of attacks on minorities in the country. Atheist bloggers have been murdered as well as liberal activists and members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups.

Kurigram district police chief Tobarak Ullah told AFP: "He died on the spot. The attackers exploded a molotov cocktail to create panic and left the scene on a motorcycle." 

He said Ali had converted to Christianity in 1999 from Islam. "We are not sure whether Islamist militants carried out the attack," he said, but added that the pattern of killing bore the hallmarks of recent attacks by Islamist militants.

Three men were picked up for questioning, he said.

Over the last few months, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several killings including the murder of a Shiite convert from Sunni Islam in the southwestern town of Kaliganj and of an alleged Christian convert. 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.

Additional reporting by Reuters.