The president of the Bishops’ Commission for Justice and Peace slams the attack in the capital. “God shall not tolerate this massacre,” he told AsiaNews. “Now it's up to the country’s Muslims. They must stand up to save their religion”. The victims include nine Italians, seven Japanese, three Bangladeshis, and one Indian. Full of sadness, Pope Francis “condemns such barbarous acts as offences against God and humanity”.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Mgr Gervas Rozario, bishop of Rajshahi and president of the Bishops’ Commission for Justice and Peace, spoke to AsiaNews about last Friday’s massacre in Dhaka.
For the prelate, the attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery café “is an unjustified barbarous act. God’s name cannot and must not be mixed up with such acts. Now Muslims believers must stand up and intervene to save their religion”.
Twenty hostages died in the attack against the café popular with foreigners, including nine from Italy, seven from Japan, three from Bangladesh, and one from India. Six of the seven (presumed) terrorists also died, as did two policemen.
The gunmen stormed the café on the last Friday of Ramadan, shouting "Allah is great" and opened fire.
Bangladeshi’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina described the attackers as young misfits who do not understand the values of Islam.
According to Mgr Rozario, the condemnation must be unanimous. "No one, of any religion, can justify killing. It is sad to realise that the hostages died in this way. God shall not tolerate this massacre. Now it's up to the country’s Muslims. They must stand up to save their religion. Peace must prevail upon all of us. "
The Bangladeshi Church "is praying for the victims of Islamic terrorism. May God grant eternal peace to the departed souls. The Christian martyrs of the massacre shall be remembered in a very special way."
In a message signed by the Secretary of State, Card Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis yesterday voiced his pain.
“Deeply saddened by the senseless violence perpetrated against innocent victims in Dhaka, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses heartfelt condolences and condemns such barbarous acts as offences against God and humanity.
“In commending the dead to God’s mercy, His Holiness gives the assurance of his prayers for the grieving families and the wounded.”
Hasnat Karim and Tahmid Hasib are in jail in protective custody. They are accused of having directed the attack on the cafe in the diplomatic district of the capital. The first is a former teacher of one of the most prestigious private universities of Dhaka; the second fled from Canada last year.
On 1st July 2016, terrorists attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery Café killing 20. Following this, the Gulshan area has become deserted, abandoned by tourists and shops. Several Catholics and Protestant missionaries have left the country. A full account of the investigations will be published "very soon".
Yesterday’s attack is “part of a precise plan against the current government,” source tells AsiaNews “with the clear intent of destabilising the country” and undermine its economy. The goal "is to create chaos and sow fear” and “turn Bangladesh into a terrorist stronghold”. Still, “the alternative is not very appealing: the militarisation of the country and the suspension of civil liberties”. Italians and Japanese are among the dead. “We are really sorry for what happened,” says priest in Tejgoan. “We strongly condemn the attack”.
The districts of Gulshan and Banani, home to embassies and international offices, inaugurate new bus and rickshaws dedicated exclusively to residents. The attack at Holy Artisan Bakery Cafe "shocked tourists and investors, who are now afraid. That's why we will do everything to reassure them".
The Rapid Action Battalion ends 12-hour hostage situation. The nationality of the victims has not yet been released. For Prime Minister Hasina, this is not Islam. Tensions remain high in the capital.