Christians Encounter Ramadan in Bangladesh
Most restaurants in Bangladesh will be closed during the daylight hours in strict adherence to Ramadan. According to a 34-year-old Christian woman from the capital city of Dhaka, “During this month, it is offensive to eat or drink in front of a fasting Muslim. I once worked for a non-profit organization and my colleagues would bring food to the office during Ramadan because the cafeteria was closed. Then, they ate in secret. I did not do it though,” she added. “It’s my personal conviction that joining the Muslims in their fasting would bring Christ closer to them.”
Ramadan commemorates a significant event in Islam’s history when its founder, the Prophet Mohammad, received a series of divine messages. These revelations were later recorded as the pages of the Quran, Islam’s most sacred book. “Muslims treat Ramadan with reverence,” shared the young Bangladesh woman, “and they tend to be more serious and sensitive about Islamic beliefs and practices. So, during Ramadan, we (Christians) need to be more careful in carrying out our church activities, especially in conducting seminars, trainings, and other programs.”
Muslim Background Believers (MBB’s) in Bangladesh must be especially wary during Ramadan. They can easily provoke Bengali Muslims at this time of heightened piety. Labeled as apostates, MBB’s are often driven away from their communities, disowned and disinherited by their families, and even threatened with death. MBB’s comprise about five percent of Bangladesh’s total Christian population of 1.36 million. Unlike many other Muslim countries, MBB’s in Bangladesh are legally free to practice their faith in Christ, but they must do so with utmost sensitivity to their Muslim-majority communities.
Father, as we approach the coming month of Ramadan, we pray Your protection upon our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, and indeed across the Muslim world. We pray for MBB’s who are in grave danger every day, but especially during this month of increased religious fervor. Grant Christian’s wisdom, discernment, humility and compassion as they relate to Muslims during Ramadan. And we pray for Muslims that as they are more sensitive to spiritual matters during their holy month, that You would draw them to Yourself through dreams and visions and through the witness of godly believers. In the name of Jesus who came to seek and save the lost, Amen.