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Bangladesh Facts

Score:63/ 100
Region:Asia
Persecution Type:Islamic oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:168,066,000
Christians:887,000
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Parliamentary republic
Leader:President Abdul Hamid

Profile of Persecution

Violence 56%
Church Life 53%
National Life 67%
Community Life 76%
Family Life 60%
Private Life 67%

Some groups are doubly vulnerable

Christians who convert away from Islamic or tribal religions must gather in small house churches or secret groups due to fear of attack. Protestant and Catholic groups are targeted with attacks and death threats. Christians who belong to ethnic minority groups like the Rohingya are doubly vulnerable, as they are harassed because of both their religion and their ethnicity.

Threats of violence and rising danger

The government struggles to counter the growing strength of radical Islamic groups, adding to a general sense of insecurity. Until recently Bangladesh had managed to stay clear of the kind of radicalism that has plagued other parts of the world. That’s changing.

Christians are a tiny minority and, if they belong to ethnic minorities, face a double vulnerability. Christian converts come under pressure from either radical Islamic groups or the Islamic culture in their neighborhoods and often face significant threats. Churches and all minority religions strive to stay clear of politics.

Converts from a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or an ethnic/tribal background suffer the most severe persecution in Bangladesh. Evangelistic churches, many of them Pentecostal, working among the Muslim majority face persecution, but even historical churches such as the Roman Catholic Church are increasingly faced with attacks and death threats.

Tribal Christians endure pressure on both ethnic and religious grounds, and struggle with land-grabbing issues and violence. Christians among the Muslim Rohingya, who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, face harassment and strong pressure from their community as well.

Examples

There have been no killings of Christians in the 2020 World Watch List (WWL) reporting period, but several death-threats were made against members of historical churches and converts alike.

Fourteen churches—or places where Christians gather—were attacked. Examples: 1) In March 2019, a makeshift church and school in a Rohingya refugee camp was destroyed. 2) In April 2019, the Mohandi Assemblies of God church in the Satkhira district was burnt down. 3) Other churches in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have been destroyed as well.

Several Christians were detained by the police in the WWL 2020 reporting period, many under the allegation of “unlawful conversion.”

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Bangladesh

  • Pray for God to give strength to all believers to stand strong in their faith, especially secret believers, so they might endure persecution and not compromise their faith. Pray also for the ongoing projects to reach believers in need and assist them with timely help.
  • Pray for Christians who have left their communities out of pressure to renounce their faith. Pray that the Lord would provide for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
  • Pray that Christians who are mentally and physically abused would be granted steadfast faith.
  • Converts from a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or an ethnic/tribal background suffer the most severe persecution in Bangladesh. They often gather in small house churches or secret groups due to fear of attack. Pray their hearts are filled with courage and peace.

Stories from Bangladesh

January 15, 2020

Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More

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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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