Christians Raise Concern Over Escalating Attacks Against Bangladesh Believers

A wave of attacks allegedly coordinated by Islamic extremists against Christians recently in Bangladesh has raised concerns among human rights organizations.

In the most recent report of violence, a church in Badarganj town in northern Bangladesh was attacked and threatened for money Saturday by local hoodlums, police told the national daily Bangladesh Observer newspaper.

Some local Christian families fearing more attacks had taken shelter inside the church, the news agency reported.

According to a statement released by the Christian Freedom International (CFI) on Monday, CFI President Jim Jacobson said "the persecution of Christians, especially those who convert to Christianity, in Bangladesh is getting worse.”

“The growing persecution of Christians in Bangladesh is alarming,” he added, “and should be a matter of major concern for every freedom loving person."

It is annual International Religious Freedom Report, the U.S. Department of State recognized the increased number of Hindu, Christians, and Buddhist minorities who experienced discrimination by the Muslim majority.

According to the report, religious minorities have been subject to attacks by Islamic extremists, with incidents including killings, rape, torture, attacks on places of worship, destruction of homes, forced evictions, and desecration of items of worship. Despite these happenings, the report notes that the Government sometimes has failed to investigate the crimes and prosecute the perpetrators, who are often local gang leaders.

In its statement, CFI reported on the case of a Bible college that was forced by Islamic terrorists to move out from the city of Khulna, a busy industrial, agricultural, and commercial center in southwestern Bangladesh.

"We had to move our Bible school out of Khulna because it was so dangerous,” Peter Kaleque, the principal of the Grace Presbyterian Bible College, told CFI. “The fanatics beat our Bible school students [and] they tried to kill them. There are so many fanatics in Khulna now."

"The fanatic groups attacked our school three times – two times this year, one time last year," Kaleque continued. "They tried to kidnap the girls and kill the men."

Despite the college's exodus from Islamic threat in Khulna in July, it is still receiving new persecution at its new headquarters in South Sayabithi, about 15 miles north of the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, CFI reported.

Kaleque told CFI that the neighboring Muslims from the local mosque in the area vowed to cut off the students’ hands if they sing or pray too loudly.

Though Kaleque confessed that he and the others are in fear, he said, “We work for the Lord, even if we are scared. We have our classes even though they threaten us."

In its statement, CFI urged the U.S. government and the U.N. to use their influence in Bangladesh to stop the growing persecution of religious minorities, especially Christians.