Hossain Ali, a 68-year-old Christian convert from Islam, was killed on Tuesday (22 March) when three men riding motorcycles attacked him at 5.30 am while he was taking his regular early morning walk in Valacopa, in the Kurrigram District of northern Bangladesh, hacking him to death with a knife.
He died on the spot,” said district police chief Tobarak Ullah. Passers-by saw the incident and tried to catch the attackers, but they set off two hand bombs to frighten people away and then fled the scene on motorcycles.
Hossain Ali left Islam in 1999 and decided to follow Christ. Two other Muslim background families from his neighbourhood came to know the Lord through his witness, and two years ago he set up a house church in his own home.
Local Islamists were angered by this and several times they had threatened him and pressurised him to return to Islam.
Hossain Ali is survived by his wife, son and three daughters.
Christians in Bangladesh make up just 1% of a population that is 90% Muslim, making them easy targets for attack. Converts to Christianity are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and violence.
In January, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the murder of another convert to Christianity, 75-year-old Pastor Khaza Somiruddin, in Jenaidah, a district around 100 miles (161 km) west of capital city Dhaka.
The US-based SITE Intelligence Group reported the jihadists as saying, “Soldiers of the caliphate were able to eliminate the apostate, named ‘Samir al-Din,’ by stabbing him with a knife.”