Two Christian men working with a nongovernmental organization in largely peaceful Bangladesh were hacked to death on July 27. Police and local officials said Islamic extremists were likely responsible.
The incident occurred in Dhopapara village in Boalmari, Faridpur district, about 90 miles from the capital, Dhaka.
Tapan Kumar Roy, 27, and Liplal Mardi, 21, worked for Christian Life Bangladesh (CLB). Along with educational films on arsenic poisoning, mother-and-child health care, and aids prevention, they often showed the Jesus filmand then only at the invitation of local villagers.
Swapon Bose, a well-known Christian leader who was familiar with the two evangelists, said an official at a local Islamic school had threatened the men prior to the murders. Some human-rights observers say the country, which is 86 percent Muslim, is becoming increasingly radicalized.
According to Ecumenical News International, Augustine Dipak Karmakar, general secretary of the Church of Bangladeshpart of the worldwide Anglican Communionsaid an unprecedented series of simultaneous bomb blasts across Bangladesh in August is a "clear indication of a growing Islamic fundamentalism in our country."
Peter Bose, supervisor of CLB in Faridpur, said some villagers told him several community members had threatened to kill Roy and Mardi if they continued to show Jesus. In addition, their landlord, Bipul Kumar Bagchi, said Muslim extremists were angry over the showing of the Jesus film in their district.
Nanok Kumar Biswas, general secretary of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Welfare Front of Boalmari, said he believed followers of an Islamist group were responsible for the murders.
Police have made one arrest and are still investigating the incident.
Christians held a protest meeting in Dhaka in the week following the latest murders to demand justice for Roy and Mardi, as well as for Dulal Sarkar, a lay pastor who was murdered on March 8. They also held a silent procession in Faridpur district and submitted a memo of protest to local officials.
The regional committee of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Unity Council also organized a meeting in Faridpur district and visited the site of the killings to express solidarity with the victims' families.
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More news on the murders includes:
Christians showing 'Jesus' film stabbed to death in Bangladesh | Two men showing the evangelistic "JESUS" film for Christian Life Bangladesh were killed in Faridpur, according to a statement released by Campus Crusade for Christ, a partner agency of Christian Life. (Religion News Service, Aug. 9, 2005)
Christian workers showing the Jesus film murdered in Bangladesh | Two men employed with Christian Life Bangladesh, a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ, were killed July 29th in Faridpur, Bangladesh. (Campus Crusade for Christ, July 29)
Bangladesh: Two Christians are killed by unknown attackers | The victims were involved in a Protestant NGO. They may have been killed because their religious beliefs and social commitment. This is a new indication of growing fundamentalism. (AsiaNews, Italy, Aug. 3, 2005)
'Jesus' film workers murdered in Bangladesh | Two men employed with Christian Life Bangladesh, a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ, were killed July 29 in Faridpur, Bangladesh. (Baptist Press, Aug 5, 2005)
More CT coverage of Bangladesh includes:
Bomb Explosion During Mass Stirs Fear, Public Outcry in Bangladesh | Suspects linked to rash of attacks. (June 25, 2001)
Ecumenical Leader Condemns Injustice of International Credit System | General secretary of the World Council of Churches complains that creditor nations get to dictate how to manage debt crisis. (March 20, 2001)
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