|Persecution Type:||Islamic oppression|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Leader:||President Abdul Hamid|
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.
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.
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.”
Blasphemy laws, apostasy laws and “anti-conversion” laws—which all ultimately have the same effect of trying to intimidate people who want to change their religion—are astonishingly common. Read More