A Christian convert was killed in Bangladesh in an attack for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
Hossain Ali, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1999, was stabbed to death on March 22 by at least two attackers who approached him while he was out for a walk, according to Christian Today. The next day, an ISIS message posted on Twitter called the attack “a lesson to others,” according to the Associated Foreign Press.
“A security detachment from the soldiers of the Caliphate was able, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, to kill the apostate (Ali), who changed his religion and became a preacher for the polytheist Christianity,” the statement said, according to AFP.
The police, however, deny that the attacks were carried out by ISIS, and claim that the group is not present in the country.
“We’re investigating the killing,” Tobarak Ullah, Police Chief in the northern district of Kurigram where the killing took place, told AFP. “A case has been filed and we’ve arrested five men for questioning.”
Ali had been an outspoken Christian preacher in a largely Muslim country, which placed him on the militant group’s radar. However, ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks on a number of minority groups, not just Christians, over the past several months. Shiite, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus have all been targeted, with extremist group al-Qaeda adding on its responsibility for the deaths of at least five secular bloggers and publishers since January 2015.
A week before Ali’s death, ISIS said that it had killed a Shiite convert from Sunni Islam in Bangladesh, in the southwestern town of Kaliganj. These and other attacks have increased the instability of a country that is in the midst of a three-year struggle between the government and opposition groups. The Bangladeshi government, under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has denied that ISIS or other international extremist groups are present in the country and instead blamed the banned domestic militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh.