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Catholic bishop condemns vandalism in Bangladesh church

A Muslim youth “vandalized” an image of Jesus and tore a copy of the Holy Bible in a church in the northern part of the country on April 4

A Catholic bishop in Bangladesh condemned the vandalism of a church in a village in the northern part of the country.

“I strongly condemn this incident and who or what is involved in this incident,” said Bishop Gervas Rozario of the Rajshahi diocese.

A report on Radio Veritas Asia said a Muslim youth “vandalized” an image of Jesus and tore a copy of the Holy Bible at Mother Teresa’s Church in the village of Hatshika in Joypurhat district on April 4.

Police later arrested Jannatul Ferdous, 22, for breaking the door of the church.

“Every person in Bangladesh has the right to practice one’s religion freely and that freedom is enshrined in the constitution,” said Bishop Rozario. “None of us are above the law,” he said.

The bishop urged the people of the village not to be afraid. “You will not be afraid, you will not be disappointed. Go forward without fear. God is with us and He will save you,” he said.

“It is a very sad incident for us,” the Veritas report quoted Father Jose Pampadil of the Catholic seminary in Joypurhat.

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“We never expected this kind of incident could happen in our village,” said the priest.

Father Pampadil expressed hope that authorities will conduct a “proper investigation and take action.”

“I would like to ask the government and the representatives of the area to take care that such untoward incidents do not happen again,” said the priest.

Villagers also condemned the incident, describing it as “heinous.”

Since 2013, Bangladesh has seen an upsurge in attacks that so far claimed the lives of over 50 people.

The attacks targeted liberal academics, publishers, gay rights activists, secular bloggers, foreigners, and religious minorities including Hindus, Shias, Ahmadis, and Christians.

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