A bomb exploded during a Mass at the Jalilpar Catholic Missionary Church on June 3, killing ten people and injuring more than two dozen others.

The bombing took place in the Gopalganj district, which has a sizeable—and rare—Christian majority. About 87 percent of the country's 129.2 million people are Muslims. Christians make up less than 1 percent of the population.

"The Christian community is afraid of another attack anywhere in Bangladesh, as. … all the citizens of Bangladesh are feeling insecurity and uncertainty right now," Dennis D. Datta, general secretary of the National Christian Fellowship of Bangladesh, told Christianity Today.

The region is no stranger to strife. Violence accompanied Muslim-dominated Pakistan's separation from Hindu-dominated India in 1947. East Pakistan rebelled against West Pakistan in 1971 and became Bangladesh. About 1 million people died and 10 million poured into India during this war for independence.

Combined with a June 16 bombing of a political rally in Narayanganj, the death toll from Bangladesh bombings in the last two years has reached more than 80, according to VOA News.

Datta says the bombers want to grab the attention of Christians and Hindus, who constitute 95 percent of the Gopalganj district's population.

"With one action, they alerted both communities that they exist and are powerful," Datta said. "They chose the church for getting publicity locally and internationally—and they got it."

The Tribune of Chandigarh reported on June 11 that Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested a teacher for planning the attack. He is allegedly a member of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, an underground Islamic organization. Two local Christian youth are also suspected of having aided in the church ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

October
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
From Issue:
Christianity Today
Bangladesh: Bomb Kills Ten Christians
hide thisAugust 6 August 6

In the Magazine

August 6, 2001

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.