The ISIS Attack You Didn't Hear About Tuesday: Christian Man Hacked to Death
The Islamic State is claiming responsibility for an attack Tuesday that bore chilling hallmarks of al-Qaeda attacks in Bangladesh that have targeted non-Muslim writers and thinkers.
Like previous victims of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, the ISIS victim was hacked to death on a city street. The similar M.O. comes as ISIS is trying to muscle in on al-Qaeda territory in the region.
The victim's "crime"? Being a prominent, longtime convert from Islam to Christianity.
Hossain Ali, 68, had recently retired as inspector of the Directorate of Family Planning, according to local media. He and his family had converted to Christianity in 1999.
Each morning, Ali took a walk near his home in the Kurigram district in northern Bangladesh. At about 7 a.m. on Tuesday, multiple attackers approached Ali on a motorbike and began assaulting him with knives. As they fled the scene, officials said, they threw Molotov cocktails to frighten locals.
He was described as a freedom fighter in Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War.
The country's Daily Star newspaper ran a grisly photo of Ali's bloody body lying in the street, surrounded by a crowd of somber children.
ISIS issued an official statement on its letterhead declaring that Ali was murdered as "a lesson to others."
And the Amaq Agency, an ISIS news outlet that first issued the claim of responsibility for the Brussels terror attacks on Tuesday, reported in a headline without an accompanying story:
"Breaking: Islamic State soldiers assassinate a Christian preacher in Kurigram, northern Bangladesh."
Three Islamist students were arrested as suspects in the slaying and Bangladesh officials, who have been accused in past killings of not paying enough attention to the threats faced by non-Muslims at the hands of terror groups, said they hadn't determined a motive.
Some media reports referred to the terrorists as "miscreants."
Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh, the local wing of AQIS, has circulated a timeline graphic of their murders: assassinations of bloggers and thinkers deemed to have insulted Islam.
In February 2015, Bangladeshi-American secularist blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death on a Dhaka street. “The target was an American citizen.. 2 in 1. #America recently martyred 2 of our brothers in #Khurasan & #Shaam. #Revenge+#Punishment,” Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh tweeted afterward.
Roy was a dual U.S.-Bangladesh citizen who lived in Georgia and was in Bangladesh for a month. His wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, was with him at the time of the attack and was severely wounded, with one of her fingers severed by the pair of machete-wielding attackers.