A Muslim youth vandalized Jesus' statue and tore the Holy Bible at Mother Teresa’s Church in Bangladesh on April 4.
Police arrested Jannatul Ferdous, 22, for breaking the door of a church at Hatshika village under Mary of Our Help Church, Khonjonpur in Joypurhat district.
He even tore up all the books used in worship, including the Holy Bible.
Upon hearing the news, the villagers grabbed the youth and handed him over to the police.
“I strongly condemn this incident and who or what is involved in this incident or not; He or she needs to be exemplary,” said Bishop Gervas Rozario of the Rajshahi diocese.
"Every person in Bangladesh has the right to practice one’s religion freely and that freedom is enshrined in the constitution. None of us are above the law," he said.
"At the same time, I would like to say with the fear of the Christians of Hatshika village, you will not be afraid, you will not be disappointed. Go forward without fear. God is with us and He will save you." the bishop told the villagers of Hatshika.
Father Jose Pampadil, who works at the seminary of Joypurhat Catholic Church, said, “It is a very sad incident for us. We never expected this kind of incident could happen in our village. We already informed the administration about this incident. The administration is also taking this issue seriously.”
The Deputy Commissioner (DC), Circle Superintendent of Police, Chairman of the Upazila (subdivision) Executive Officer, officials from a local police station, and president of the district branch of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Council of the district visited the spot.
"Hopefully, the administration will conduct a proper investigation and take action. At the same time, I would like to ask the government and the representatives of the area to take care that such untoward incidents do not happen again,” said Father Pampadil.
A Catholic leader of the church committee Subash Murmu, an eyewitness from Hatshika village, said, "We, the villagers, strongly condemn this heinous incident. I never thought such an event would happen in our village. We strongly urge the administration to find out who the real culprits are.”
“But why did Ferdous commit the incident? Is it the work of that young man or is it someone who has fuelled him to do it?” he asked.
“We want the administration to conduct an impartial investigation, find the real culprits and bring them to justice," said Murmu.
Bangladesh is well known as a Muslim-majority country. However, since 2013 it has seen an upsurge in Islamic militancy that has so far claimed the lives of over 50 people.
Those targeted by hardliner Islamists include liberal academics, publishers, gay rights activists, secular bloggers, foreigners, and religious minorities including Hindus, Shias, Ahmadis, and Christians.
The previous record says that four Christian missionaries including an Italian Catholic priest were attacked and two Christians were murdered by militants and more than ten have received death threats in the South Asia country.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.