- A mob of Muslims reportedly burned 30 Hindu homes in Bangladesh over a "blasphemous" social media post
- The Facebook account responsible may have been fake however, as it was attributed to an illiterate villager
- It regularly shared Hindu imagery and pornography as well as the offending post.
- Hindus are a minority in Bangladesh and have faced violence
by Rosie Alfatlawi
Update: An earlier version of this article stated that 20,000 people attacked the village. This has been updated to reflect the much smaller number later reported.
A Hindu village in Bangladesh has been attacked over a Facebook post allegedly insulting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
A mob belonging to the country’s Muslim majority set fire to 30 houses in Thakurpara village following Friday prayers, the English-language Dhaka Tribune reported.
Houses were vandalized and looted during the assault, which took place in the northern Rangpur district of the South Asian nation and left 250 homeless.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, killing one and injuring five.
The assault was apparently fueled by a Facebook account attributed to a young man from the village, identified as “Titu Roy.” The individual had allegedly shared a screenshot from a group which was insulting to the Prophet.
But the account might not even have belonged to the villager in question, as the Dhaka Tribune later indicated that Titu Roy's family had claimed he was illiterate.
“We had heard that a Facebook ID named after Titu spread rumors and caused all the tension here. But my brother cannot even read a word,” his brother told the Bangla Tribune.
“How can he run a Facebook ID? We think someone else opened an ID and named it after Titu.”
He added Roy had fled Thakurpara several years ago to labor as a garment worker in the capital Dhaka, 300 kilometers away.
In fact, the page appears to have shared a bizarre combination of Hindu imagery, pornography, anti-Muslim rhetoric and the same few photos of the young villager.
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While police are still searching for the person behind the account, they have said that Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami is responsible for the violence. The organization was banned from 2013 elections, ostensibly over its opposition to secularism
"They carried out the attack to create instability ahead of the 11th parliamentary election," the region’s police superintendent said, according to ANI.
Police filed a case against more than 2,000 people over the violence, according to the Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh is approximately 90 percent Muslim, with a 10 percent Hindu religious minority.
In its 2016 report Human Rights Watch described that Hindus in Bangladesh faced “sporadic attacks” which included on shrines, temples and homes.
This recent incident provoked anger in neighboring Hindu-majority India, with many condemning the attack on Twitter.
@bansir29 tweeted “such tolerance these people have,” while @ChakraNews described it as "Hinduphobia."
Others bemoaned what they saw as the media silence over the violence.
Indian lawyer Manish Tewari asked in a tweet why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not taken up the issue with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina.
https://t.co/Vsy6sZyvwO - Hindu homes are being burnt in Bangladesh over social Media posts. WHAT is @narendramodi doing?Why has PM not taken it up with @sheikhhasina?Tell Bangladesh true test of a Democracy is not how you treat your majority but how you protect your minoritie— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) November 12, 2017
India itself has come in for criticism over treatment of its Muslim minority.
Vigilante groups have killed Muslims accused of killing or stealing cows, after leaders from within Modi’s BJP party pushed for a ban on beef consumption. Cows are revered in Hinduism.
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