Baptist leader beheaded

Jalalpur, Bangladesh - A Baptist lay pastor in Bangladesh was beheaded by a group of assailants reportedly tied to a Muslim political party bent on creating a radical Islamic state.

Dulal Sarkar, 35, was the second Christian leader killed in the Asian country in the past year, according to Compass Direct, a U.S.-based news service that monitors persecution of Christians.

Sarkar was attacked as he returned home from discussing his faith with villagers near Jalalpur.

The assailants were identified by a source as a group of 10 Muslims tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, the nation's third largest and a member of the coalition government. Police have arrested three, according to local Christians.

But Sarkur's supporters fear the Islamic party will prevent the case from going to court.

Fearing for their lives, the victim's wife, mother and five children are moving from place to place.

Last September, Abdul Gani, a prominent Baptist leader and physician, reportedly was decapitated by a gang in the district of Jamalpur as he returned home from work.

In 2003, Christian evangelist Hridoy Roy was murdered by a gang of eight men who attacked him at his home. The assailants stabbed Roy repeatedly after tying him "crucifixion style" to his bed.

Roy was known for showing the popular "Jesus Film," a word-for-word account from the book of Luke used for evangelism purposes worldwide. Muslim neighbors, however had warned him to stop.

Bangladesh's population is about 83 percent Muslim and 16 percent Hindu. Christians and Buddhists make up the remaining 1 percent.