The Bangladesh police have arrested a Muslim man for placing a copy of the Qur’an inside a church. The incident occurred in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, on Sunday, December 25. The accused has been identified as 36-year-old Golam Chowdhury, son of later Quddus Chowdhury, and he reportedly hails from the Choto Banagram New Colony area in Rajshahi.
To plant a copy of the Qur’an at the religious establishments of non-Muslims and then attacking the non-Muslims. accusing them of blasphemy and insulting the Qur’an, has become commonplace in Bangladesh. They have played this malicious trick multiple times on the Hindus, ravaged Hindu colonies, and destroyed Hindu-owned properties and businesses. The 2021 anti-Hindu pogrom was one of the milestone riots orchestrated along this template.
After causing enough damage to the Hindu population, the Muslims turned toward the Christians, who form a minuscule population in Bangladesh. Christians comprise less than 0.5% of Bangladesh’s population, and it would be easy for jihadis to wipe them out if a solid plan were successfully hatched against them. Placing the Qur’an at the Rajshahi church could have been a plot designed to advance that sinister ambition. Even the police have stated that they have arrested Golam Chowdhury because he placed the Qur’an copy inside the church in order to destroy communal harmony ahead of Christmas.
At around 6:40 AM, an “unidentified person” was reported as having left a bag at the altar. Sister Shanti of the church noticed the bag before any Muslim could find it and accuse the church authorities of blasphemy against Islam. The sister grew suspicious seeing the out-of-place bag, opened it, and found the Islamic book. Church authorities promptly informed the police.
Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) Commissioner Abul Kalam Siddique addressed a press conference in Rajshahi city on Sunday afternoon. He confirmed that Boalia Model police had arrested Chowdhury at about noon. They could reach the accused by accessing the CCTV footage of the church.
As per reports, after being arrested, the accused identified himself as Jesus Christ. He claimed that Isa, Jesus in Islam, is prophesied to come to this world with a copy of the Qur’an in his hands. And he said that he was the promised Prophet Isa.
These claims may sound like the comical and irrational blathering of a crazy person, but those who are familiar with the ways of many Bangladeshi Muslims would instantly recognize these claims as part of their plan. Every time a Muslim is arrested for creating communal disharmony, he is presented in front of the media as mentally ill. Either the accused acts irrationally, or his family members rush in to vouch for his mental illness. Hence, one must not be surprised if Golam Chowdhury is acquitted because of his assumed mental instability.
The RMP Commissioner also stated, “There is a case against the youth under process. Besides, he is being interrogated. Police are also looking whether any other person was involved in the incident apart from him.”
There are few churches in Bangladesh, but the attacks on churches are proportionately higher. In February 2021, four bike-borne Muslims attacked the Emmanuel Church of Bangladesh at Aditmari in Lalmonirhat district, situated along the northern border of Bangladesh. The attackers broke into the church, vandalized the property, and stole the furniture. Pastor Lovlu S. Levy lamented that though he had lodged a report with the local police station, the police didn’t initiate any investigation to arrest the culprits. Instead, the church was accused of conducting religious conversion under the influence of Muslim leaders in the area. The pastor also spoke about receiving death threats from Muslims in 2015 and being physically assaulted by a group of Muslims in 2019.
In November 2020, a murderous mob of 50-60 armed Muslims attacked the Khasi Christian village in Ichhachhara, located in the Moulvibazar district. One Rafiq Ali allegedly orchestrated the attack over ownership of land belonging to a Christian villager. Local parish priest Oblate Father Joseph Gomes informed that the rioters threw stones and bricks at village houses, ransacked a chapel, and injured one villager.
Earlier this year, a Christian family in a Barishal village was drugged by miscreants in the area. While five family members ended up in the hospital, 91-year-old Malkam D’Costa succumbed to the poisonous reaction. The family refuses to dismiss this incident as a robbery gone wrong and asserts that Muslims deliberately did this in the area. The previous year, one of their Christian neighbors had filed a case of rape against one Mohammad Alam, and despite repeated threats, D’Costa’s son testified in her favor. The Christian community in Padrishibpur believes that the killing of the nonagenarian was thus an act of revenge.