11/20/2015, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Dinajpur’s Christians and Muslims close to PIME missionary who escaped assassination attempt

Fr. Piero Parolari is well and speaking, although with difficulty. He does not remember anything about the attempted murder. Catholic source: "No one expected the attack. He is a highly respected missionary ". The army continues to control the movements of PIME priests in Dinajpur; The situation is tense for foreigners. 12 other priests and Christian pastor have received death threats.

Dinajpur (AsiaNews) – We are all "shocked at what happened, not just Christians. Even Muslims who know Fr. Piero Parolari did not expect the attack. Everyone loves him. He was attacked not because he is a priest, but because he is foreign”, says a Catholic source for AsiaNews in Dinajpur.

The source described the reaction of the local community to the attempted murder of the missionary priest PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions).

Right now, he continues, "Fr. Parolari’s medical condition has improved. He speaks with difficulty and does not remember anything about the attack". The situation remains tense in the country for foreigners, with other religious receiving death threats.

The Italian priest and doctor has been in Bangladesh since 1985 and was attacked Wednesday, November 18. He is being kept under close medical supervision at the military hospital in Dhaka (the Combined Military Hospital), where he was admitted in the post-operative ward. This morning he received a visit from some brothers and Mario Palma, the Italian ambassador in the country. He has tried to speak to the doctors and says he cannot give any prognosis on the length of the missionary’s hospitalization, even if he says he is “very confident."

The same source confirmed the tense political situation that reigns in the country, which was also underlined yesterday by the Religious Institute, in a press release regarding claims of responsibility made by Islamic State militants. In reality the culprits (three criminals) are still unknown and the authorities only reported the arrest of 10 members of the local Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic extremist group, including the secretary.

The attack on Fr. Parolari is just the latest episode in a long series of violence against religious minorities, foreigners, bloggers and liberal thinkers. Today the Daily Star, the main national newspaper, reported the news of further death threats delivered to 12 priests and Christian pastors across the country, including five "warned" by text message that they have only  "3-4 days of their life" left.

 "The situation is serious and the Christian community is scared - the source said.  This is why the movement of PIME missionaries of Dinajpur are still monitored by the army. The military met with priests and missionaries and recommended caution. They have full freedom of movement but must be accompanied. "

"And yet - he says - despite the constant threats made against foreigners, no one expected the attack on Fr. Parolari. Everyone appreciates his missionary work among the sick in the local hospital. Even on the morning of the attack on his way to the Medical College to visit two children injured in an accident".

 "The PIME missionaries - he concludes - have received messages of friendship and solidarity from Muslims. Many locals have offered to take turns instead of the army to ensure their safety".

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