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Bangladesh Facts

Score: 58/ 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: High
Population: 166,368,000
Christians: 869,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Leader: President Abdul Hamid

Profile of Persecution

Violence 47%
Church Life 46%
National Life 63%
Community Life 70%
Family Life 54%
Private Life 66%

All Christians face threats

As the number of Christians converting from Islam is growing in Bangladesh, converts face restrictions and obstacles from radical Islamic groups, local religious leaders, and their families. The government increasingly gives in to the demands of local Islamic groups that monitor minorities, especially converts. These groups are instilling fear, and many are inspired by international Islamic groups like Islamic State (IS). Fatwas—specific interpretations of Islamic law—dictate daily life all over the country, especially in rural areas.

There is also a strong push to implement Sharia law (Islamic law) to show that the country belongs to the “House of Islam,” and local government officials continue to hinder religious expression for Christians. Until now, these demands were not met.

How Christians are suffering

Those who convert to Christianity from Islam, Hinduism or any other ethnic, tribal background face the most severe Christian persecution in Bangladesh. They often gather in small house churches or secret groups due to fear of attack. Both newer evangelistic churches and historical churches like the Roman Catholic Church are increasingly faced with attacks and death threats.

Tribal Christians like the Santal are twice as vulnerable because they face both ethnic and religious discrimination. Christians among the Muslim Rohingya people group, who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, are facing harassment and strong pressure from their community as well.

Examples

One event that illustrates the vulnerability of Christians, especially women, occurred in July 2018. A young woman named Shirpa was attacked by three young radical Muslim men. They forced their way into her home where they tried to rape her, verbally attacked her and threatened to kill her and another person in the home if she did not take off her clothes. The assailants took video of her naked and then threatened they would post it on Facebook if she ever told anyone about the incident. The next day, her family reported the incident to police who didn’t pursue the case. These cases often go unreported due to shame issues. Tragically, Shirpa killed herself leaving behind a husband and two children.

In 2018, there were six attacks on churches or sites where Christians gather. Several Christians were injured in an attack that took place at a church in Chittagong Hill Tracts in September 2018.

Pray for Bangladesh

  • Pray for converts who face the threat of divorce or loss of custody if their faith is discovered.
  • Pray with Christian business owners who are socially boycotted or who have had to give up their shops due to pressure from the Muslim majority.
  • Pray for churches who face increasing levels of monitoring by authorities.
  • Pray for converts who often meet in secret and are often isolated from their families sometimes even being forced to leave their homes.

Stories from Bangladesh

June 22, 2019

Pray with 7-year-old boy mocked and attacked for his faith

Mocked and attacked for his faith, 7-year-old Imran and his family are the only Christians in their Bangladesh village. Read More

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April 29, 2019

Violent, Hidden and Complex—Life as a Christian Woman in a Hostile Area

The faces of persecuted Christian women tell a deeply personal story. Often there’s fear. Pain, too. But, most of all, their eyes tell of hope, joy and peace. Read More

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April 12, 2019

Pray With New Christian Couple Badly Beaten After Wife’s Baptism

A day after she was baptized, the wife of a Christian couple in Bangladesh and her husband were severely beaten by his brother--because they have decided to follow Jesus. Read More

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