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Dhaka monastery priest gets death threat

29 June,2016

RTNN News Desk: The high priest of Bashabo’s Dharmarajik Buddhist Monastery, which is known for its generous gesture of serving iftar to Muslims during Ramadan, has received a death threat by mail.

The letter was signed by a person who identified himself as AB Siddique from Kishoreganj. Although the letter mentioned no affiliation with any militant outfit, a similar threat from the so-called Islamic State of Bangladesh to Dhaka city’s Ramkrishna Mission earlier this month was also signed by a person named AB Siddique.

Addressing the high priest, the letter read: “You will be brutally hacked or shot to death. The golden statues of Gautama Buddha will not be able to save you.”

The sender also mentioned that the high priest would be killed within one month unless he stopped preaching Buddhism.

Terming the Buddhist religion an enemy of Islam, the sender added: “I become a true Muslim by killing Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.”

The monastery authorities filed a general diary with Sabujbagh police station yesterday, OC (investigation) Mostafizur Rahman told the media. Law enforcers have beefed up security surrounding the monastery.

The high priest, Shuddhananda Mahathero, is currently out of the country.

Buddhapriya Mahathero, assistant high priest of the monastery, said a person who regularly delivers official mails brought the letter in the afternoon. It was addressed to “High priest, Mayakanon Bouddha Bihar, Bashabo.”

The sender’s address was mentioned as “Kishoreganj, Gazipur, Dhanmondi.” There was also a phone number included.

When the media called the phone number, a garment worker named Nazrul picked up.

“I do not know what happened. My mobile phone is in my hand. How could this be? I have no involvement in this,” said Nazrul, who said he works in a factory in Mirpur.

DMP Additional Deputy Commissioner of Sabujbagh zone, Mohsina Begum, also told the media that they suspect the phone number mentioned in the letter was fake.

She added that additional security measures like CCTV surveillance, Ansar guards and police patrol were already in place around the monastery.

Mohsina said they suspected that this AB Siddique might be the same person who sent Ramakrishna Mission the threat earlier this month.

Since September last year, at least nine members from Hindu- Buddhist-Christian communities have been killed by militants, while many more have received death threats. Several temples, including Dinajpur’s Isckon and Kantaji temples, have also been targets of bomb attacks.

Since 2010, the Dharmarajik monastery has been serving iftar to local Muslims during Ramadan in a unique example of religious harmony.

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