Rohingya believers attacked, facing torture for choosing Jesus

January 30, 2020 by Lindy Lowry in Asia

Our partners in Bangladesh are asking for prayer following a violent Muslim mob attack on a group of Rohingya believers who left Islam to follow Jesus.

At least six believers were hospitalized. It’s also believed that three Christian men were kidnapped and may be facing torture in captivity. There are also unconfirmed reports that one or more of these men have already been killed for their faith.

On Monday morning, January 27, a mob of hundreds of people attacked believers and looted their homes. Eighteen homes and a house church building were destroyed.

Learn why Bangladesh is No. 38 on the World Watch List. 

The mob is most likely connected to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Muslim insurgent group that, to date, hasn’t pledged allegiance to any foreign Islamist groups, such as Al-Qaeda or Islamic State.

Our field tells us that while area police have been pressured to investigate and work for the release of the kidnapped Christians, they have actually refused to take any serious action so far. They say that the Rohingya first need to file a case. However, because Rohingyas are refugees in Bangladesh, they don’t have citizenship—making filing a crime report almost impossible.

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Who are the Rohingya?

The Rohingya are one of many ethnic minorities from Myanmar, which borders Bangladesh. They are mostly Muslims and have their own language and culture. But while we can’t disclose specific details, our partners tell us that increasing numbers of Rohingya refugees are turning to Jesus.

In August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled from bordering country Myanmar across Bangladesh’s borders, attempting to escape a military offensive the United Nations later described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Traumatized, they poured across the border, by sea and by foot.

Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh said they fled after troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.

Learn why Myanmar is No. 19 on the World Watch List.

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. According to UNHCR, Kutupalong is the largest refugee settlement in the world, home to more than 600,000 refugees alone.

Earlier this month (January 2020), the UN’s top court ordered the Buddhist-majority country of Myanmar to “take emergency measures” to protect the Rohingya community from genocide. Reportedly, the army in Myanmar has said it was fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians. The country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has repeatedly denied genocidal intent.

Pray with our brothers and sisters

• Ask God to protect the lives of these missing Christians, that He will give them strength to endure and they will be able to return home soon.
• Pray that their family members will find strength, trust and courage in the Lord as they wait for news of their loved ones’ whereabouts.
• Ask God to convict authorities to step in and act—and that justice will prevail.
• Pray for the spiritual and physical recovery of the injured victims and the Christian Rohingya community. Our partners in the country tell us they are living in great fear and insecurity.

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