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Christian stabbed to death


7 May 2003

Christian evangelist becomes Bangladesh's first martyr in modern times following attack by at least seven Muslim extremists armed with knives.


Just after midnight, early in the morning of 24 April Hridoy Roy was returning home after showing a film version of Luke's Gospel. As he approached his house seven or eight people attacked him, stabbing him seven times. He died instantly.

Hridoy Roy was a Bangladeshi evangelist and regularly used to put on the film, known as the Jesus Film. He is believed to be the first martyr in Bangladesh in modern times, if not ever; local believers feel that he will not be the last. They are in a state of deep shock, mourning and great fear following this tragic attack.

In Islamic law (Shari'ah) conversion from Islam to another faith (apostasy) is punishable by death. This is a deep seated tradition among Muslims and those who do convert, if not killed, are often subject to beatings and having their possessions and family taken away from them. This is the fundamental reason for the antipathy that most Muslims hold towards those who try to proselytise in their communities. It goes a long way towards explaining why they are sometimes willing to take such draconian measures to make sure that none of their community will be corrupted.