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ICC Note:

As religious intolerance and attacks on Bangladesh’s religious minority communities continues to skyrocket, Christians have reported receiving death threats from a banned extremist group. According to reports, a leaflet from the Islamic Khalafot Mojahidin Bangladesh (IKMB), were distributed to Christian business owners demanding they comply with eight Islamic rules or be killed. Many Christians fear further religious violence in Bangladesh where earlier this month 20 were killed in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka by extremists. Before that, extremists had murdered as many as 40 religious minorities, gay rights activists, and secular bloggers. Are Christians in Bangladesh safe?

7/11/2016 Bangladesh (Asia News) – Christians and Hindus owners of shops, restaurants, hotels and other businesses are being threatened with death if they do not comply with a list of eight Islamic rules. The death threats, contained in a leaflet, were delivered to dealers by members of the Islamic Khalafot Mojahidin Bangladesh (Ikmb), an Islamist group banned in Bangladesh.

Following the intimidation and attack in the Dhaka coffee shop, non-Muslim traders are now living in fear, but say they are not going to surrender. Albert Prodip Baperi, a Catholic who manages the Sino-Thai Yean Tun restaurant, told AsiaNews: “I will die, but I will not comply with the militants rules”.

The Catholic says: “A stranger handed me this flyer and then moved away from our counter. We reported the incident to the local police station. ”

The letter was delivered a few months ago to his restaurant, which also organizes wedding receptions and birthday parties, as well as to some five-star hotels and other shops run by non-Muslim staff. Since that time the stores have placed high security measures and hired private security guards.

The directives are clear. Commercial establishments must comply with eight rules: their entrance must bear the inscription “Bismillah Rahman Rahim” [the invocation “In the name of Allah, the Clement, the Merciful” the opening lines of the Koran’s surah’s, ed]; have a copy of the Koran; have an image of Kaba Sharif [the cubic building in the center of the mosque in Mecca, considered the holiest place of Islam – ed]; remove paintings or sacred statues of their own religion; have a dedicated space for Muslim customers to pray; not serve haram (forbidden) food such as pork and if Muslims customers order beef in a Hindu restaurant [considered sacred by Hinduism], they must be served beef; closure of restaurants during the month of Ramadan; no music of any kind, except Islamic songs; women forbidden to work and, if they must then they must wear a hijab [headscarf] or bhurka [the dress that covers from head to toe, leaving only the eyes uncovered].

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