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ICC Note:

On Sunday, another Christian was hacked to death by Islamic radicals claiming to be from the Islamic State in Bangladesh. This is the second Christian to be murdered by extremists in Bangladesh in 2016. Earlier in the year, a Christian convert from Islam was murdered in northern Bangladesh. Both murders were claimed by the Islamic State who seems to be operating in the South Asian nation. Extremists have also targeted members of the Hindu community, the latest Hindu priest being killed on Tuesday, June 7. Atheists, gay rights activists, foreigners, university professors and bloggers have also been attacked in Bangladesh in 2016. Is this a sign that the country is beginning to fall to religious extremism? 

6/7/2016 Bangladesh (The Citizen) – On Sunday Islamic State hacked to death a Christian shopkeeper in western Bangladesh.

Sunil Gomez, 65, was found dead in his shop in Bonpara, one of Bangladesh’s oldest Christian communities.

That afternoon, local Christians held a protest rally demanding the immediate arrest of the killers. They argued that the police were not doing enough to halt the spread of violent extremism which has engulfed the country. They cited the previous murder of Christian resident Gabriel Costa whose killer has not yet been found, as evidence of police complacency.

Sunil “attended Sunday prayers at my church and then went to his grocery store. The next thing we know he was hacked to death. I can’t imagine how anyone can kill such an innocent man”, local priest Father Rebeiro told AFP.

Sunil’s death came just hours after the murder of a top police official’s wife in Chittagong. Mahmuda Khanam Mitu’s husband, Babul Akter had been leading an investigation against Islamic extremists. The killing, also claimed by Islamic State, is thought to have been a ‘revenge’ attack.

CCTV footage reportedly shows three men on motorbikes repeatedly stabbing and then shooting her in front of her six-year-old son.

Bangladesh, despite being founded on the principle of secularism, has long failed to live up to its promise. Regular violence, discrimination and at times persecution have driven religious minorities into increasingly marginalized positions. Many have fled to neighboring India and Myanmar.

These two murders are the latest in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in Bangladesh. Over the last two years, similar attacks have targeted atheists, bloggers, publishers, academics, foreigners, civil and gay rights activists, police officers and various religious minorities. At least 10 people are thought to have been murdered by Islamist militants since February alone, symbolizing the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country.

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