Dhaka cafe attackers spared hostages who could recite Quran

Published July 2, 2016
“They (gunmen) did not behave rough with the Bangladesh nationals. Rather they provided night meals for all Bangladeshis.” — AP
“They (gunmen) did not behave rough with the Bangladesh nationals. Rather they provided night meals for all Bangladeshis.” — AP

DHAKA: Militants who stormed into a Bangladesh cafe overnight had asked the hostages to recite verses from the Holy Quran and those who failed to do so were tortured.

Rezaul Karim, father of Hasnat Karim who was held hostage inside Holey Artisan Bakery in the diplomatic zone for over 10 hours, told The Daily Star that the hostages who could recite a verse or two from the Quran were spared, while others were tortured.

Hasnat Karim went to a birthday celebration with his wife and children at the Spanish restaurant on Dhaka’s Gulshan Road on Friday when militants stormed in and took about 20 people including foreigners as hostage.

The militant Islamic State (IS) group, which has claimed the attacks, posted photos of what it said were dead foreigners killed in the assault on the cafe. An army spokesman confirmed that militants killed 20 civilians after taking them hostage, with many of the victims hacked to death.

Read: 20 hostages killed in Bangladesh cafe siege

Hasnat’s family were rescued following a joint drive of the military, paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh, police and elite force Rapid Action Battalion pushed a heavily-manned offensive on Saturday.

“They [gunmen] did not behave rough with the Bangladesh nationals,” Reazul quoted his son Hasnat as saying. “Rather they provided night meals for all Bangladeshis.”

“They were doing a background check on religion by asking everyone to recite [verses] from the Quran. Those who could recite a verse or two were spared. The others were tortured,” he said.

According to Hasnat, the gunmen had killed the foreign nationals dining in the eatery by 11:00pm on Friday.

Meanwhile, the family was rushed to Detective Branch office for further interrogation, according to Hosne Ara, Hasnat’s mother. “We have been assured that they will be sent home safely,” she said.

By arrangement with The Daily Star/ANN

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