Bangladesh Christian leader gives stark bomb blast warning - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
August 31, 2005

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Bangladesh Christian leader gives stark bomb blast warning

-31/08/05

An unprecedented series of simultaneous bomb blasts in Bangladesh is a "clear indication of a growing Islamic fundamentalism in our country," according to a Bangladeshi church leader. The bombs killed two people and injured about 100 two weeks ago.

"It's unbelievable that 63 of our 64 districts witnessed explosions without police and intelligence officials having a single clue," said Augustine Dipak Karmakar, general secretary of the Church of Bangladesh.

Speaking to Anto Akkara for Ecumenical News International during a visit to New Delhi for a South Asian church meeting, Karmakar said the bomb blasts showed that the fundamentalists "are getting stronger and stronger".

Hundreds of crudely made bombs exploded at government offices, courts and even press clubs across Bangladesh on 17 August, but no arrests had been made by 22 August. Police recovered from the blast sites leaflets with messages from the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen group calling for Islamic rule in Bangladesh and warning the US and Britain against occupation of Muslim nations.

Though the blasts did not target any community, Karmakar noted the message was very clear: "The secular space is shrinking in my country". "This is a matter of serious concern to Christians and others," he said, while noting that the minuscule Christian community in Bangladesh was "safer compared to the Hindus whose condition is miserable".

Christians number around 400 000 among Bangladesh's 144 million people - about 83 per cent of whom are Muslims. Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan till 1971 when it seceded from a union with West Pakistan.

Karmakar said that apart from Islamic fundamentalist violence, the Hindu minority is victimised politically under Muslim-dominated government machinery. As a result, he said, Hindus are migrating to the bordering Indian state of West Bengal - which shares the Bengali language.

Since Bangladesh's breakaway from Pakistan, the non-Muslim population has shrunk, especially Hindus who accounted for 30 per cent of the population prior to the independence of Bangladesh, but were less than 10 per cent by 2000. If the pattern continues, Karmakar cautioned: "In a few years time, things will get worse and we too will be targeted."

The hard-line Islamic lobby, he pointed out, has spread into the government machinery as the present administration is headed by a coalition in which the Bangladesh Nationalist Party shares power with the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

Find books now:

Bangladesh Christian leader gives stark bomb blast warning

-31/08/05

An unprecedented series of simultaneous bomb blasts in Bangladesh is a "clear indication of a growing Islamic fundamentalism in our country," according to a Bangladeshi church leader. The bombs killed two people and injured about 100 two weeks ago.

"It's unbelievable that 63 of our 64 districts witnessed explosions without police and intelligence officials having a single clue," said Augustine Dipak Karmakar, general secretary of the Church of Bangladesh.

Speaking to Anto Akkara for Ecumenical News International during a visit to New Delhi for a South Asian church meeting, Karmakar said the bomb blasts showed that the fundamentalists "are getting stronger and stronger".

Hundreds of crudely made bombs exploded at government offices, courts and even press clubs across Bangladesh on 17 August, but no arrests had been made by 22 August. Police recovered from the blast sites leaflets with messages from the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen group calling for Islamic rule in Bangladesh and warning the US and Britain against occupation of Muslim nations.

Though the blasts did not target any community, Karmakar noted the message was very clear: "The secular space is shrinking in my country". "This is a matter of serious concern to Christians and others," he said, while noting that the minuscule Christian community in Bangladesh was "safer compared to the Hindus whose condition is miserable".

Christians number around 400 000 among Bangladesh's 144 million people - about 83 per cent of whom are Muslims. Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan till 1971 when it seceded from a union with West Pakistan.

Karmakar said that apart from Islamic fundamentalist violence, the Hindu minority is victimised politically under Muslim-dominated government machinery. As a result, he said, Hindus are migrating to the bordering Indian state of West Bengal - which shares the Bengali language.

Since Bangladesh's breakaway from Pakistan, the non-Muslim population has shrunk, especially Hindus who accounted for 30 per cent of the population prior to the independence of Bangladesh, but were less than 10 per cent by 2000. If the pattern continues, Karmakar cautioned: "In a few years time, things will get worse and we too will be targeted."

The hard-line Islamic lobby, he pointed out, has spread into the government machinery as the present administration is headed by a coalition in which the Bangladesh Nationalist Party shares power with the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

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