Islamic Group Accused of Killing Native Missionary in Bangladesh

( [email protected] ) Oct 01, 2004 02:26 AM EDT

A fundamentalist Islamic group has been accused of murdering a missionary with Gospel for Children of Ishmael (GFCI), Monday, Sept. 20, in the Jamalpur district of Bangladesh.

Dr. Abdul Goni, a medical doctor, was killed while on the way to his village after closing his pharmacy at about 9:30 p.m. He was about half a mile from his home when the group ambushed him and stabbed him to death with knives.

Goni, a devoted believer of Jesus Christ, came from a Muslim background and was a council member of Bangladesh Baptist Fellowship. He was respected for his social service as a doctor. He took "Evangelism Exposure" training in Dhaka to learn how to share his faith with others. The last three years he served with GFCI, a ministry operated by Action International Ministries. Goni and his partner, Rev. Daniel Shayan, organized several conferences in Bangladesh for those interested in the gospel. Two more such conferences were scheduled for this November. Shayan urged believers to pray for Goni's family. "We believe his blood has not been shed in vain and that many churches will be planted in Jamalpur as a result of his life-and-death testimony," he said.

Since the 2001 elections, religious minorities reportedly have continued to be targeted for attacks in Bangladesh. An NGO claimed that in the first 4 months of the period covered by the International Religious Freedom Report released by the U.S. State Department, there were approximately 200 incidences of discrimination or violence against religious minorities. Reportedly, incidents include killings, rape, torture, attacks on places of worship, destruction of homes, forced evictions, and desecration of items of worship. However, many such reports have not been verified independently. The Government sometimes has failed to investigate the crimes and prosecute the perpetrators, who are often local gang leaders.