A Sufi Muslim leader has been found hacked to death in Bangladesh, two weeks after the Islamic State group claimed the murder of a liberal professor in the same northwestern district.
Mohammad Shahidullah, 65, had been missing since leaving home on Friday morning before villagers last night found his body in a pool of blood in a mango grove in Rajshahi.
It comes amid a troubling rise in violence against religious minorities, liberal activists and foreigners in Bangladesh, with six murders since the start of last month alone.
‘He was not a famous Sufi. But there could be a possibility that he was killed by Islamist militants,’ Rajshahi district police chief Nisharul Arif said.
The police officer said the killing of the self-proclaimed Sufi master was ‘similar’ to other recent hacking deaths of religious minorities carried out by attackers with machetes or cleavers.
‘He was slaughtered from his neck and there are also some deep gashes in his throat,’ Abdur Razzak, a local police official said, adding that ‘he had scores of followers in a nearby district’.
Sufi Islam is a mystical form of Islam popular in rural Bangladesh but considered deviant by many of the country’s majority Sunni Muslims.
They include the Saudi Arabia-inspired Salafis and Wahabis, who are gaining strength in the country.