10/02/2009, 00.00
BANGLADESH

Catholic university student attacked by Muslim extremists in a public park in Dhaka

William Gomes
Four members of Hizbut Tawhid, an Islamist movement, beat Anup Rodrigues, 25, from Dhaka. They accused him of insulting Muhammad. Now he is afraid for his life and that of his brothers, who are also university students.
Dhaka (Asia News) – Members of an Islamist group, Hizbut Tawhid, attacked a Christian student in Dhaka, after they accused him of criticising Muhammad. Last Sunday Anup Rodrigues, a 25-year-old Catholic university student, had just left the Holy Rosary Church after evening Mass.

Anup was sitting at a bench in Farmgate Park, waiting for friends when four unidentified men, dressed in traditional Muslim garb, attacked him from behind. In the course of the assault, one of the attackers began accusing him of insulting the prophet, describing Christians as a “curse on the nation”, who want to convert Muslims.

“They started beating me with iron rods and bamboo sticks, without letting say a word,” the student said. “As they were pounding away at me, I prayed to Our Lady to save me. When they relented for a moment I was able to get away.”

“After the attack I stopped to think about what had happened and why they attacked me,” the young man told AsiaNews.

“I remembered then that a week before I was in the park with friends where we talked about prophets in the various religions. One of the men who attacked me was sitting across from us. He told us that he belonged to Hizbut Tawhid and that they had a duty to carry out jihad to punish people like us.”

Now Anup is afraid for his life, that of his friends and his two brothers who, like him, attend university. A month ago, someone killed a Baptist Christian named Swopon in the same area.

For this reason, Anup and his mother, Monica, have not filed a complaint with police. They place little trust in law enforcement since the young man’s father, Peter, and uncle, Paul, disappeared at work on 17 August 2006.

Monica Rodrigues turned to police after she received a ransom note, but the investigations have led nowhere.

Now, after the attack against Anup, she fears she might lose her sons, and remains at a loss as to who might help her.

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