Slain Bengali Christians Identified as Campus Crusade Partners

The two Christian men who were stabbed to death last week in Bangladesh’s Faridpur district were employed with a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ International

The two Christian men who were stabbed to death last week in Bangladesh’s Faridpur district were employed with a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ International, the Florida-based ministry announced today.

Lipial Marandi, 21, and Tapan Kumar Roy, 27, had spent the last eight months providing health awareness programs to locals and showing “The Jesus Film,” according to an Aug. 8 statement released by CCCI. The men had received threats that they would be killed if they continued their work.

“We express our deepest sympathies to the families of Lipial and Tapan,” said Thomas Abraham, vice president of Asia Campus Crusade for Christ. “We are saddened by the hatred of those who would commit such acts of violence.”

According to Hope Builders International, which also reported on the murders, Roy and Marandi worked for Christian Life Bangladesh (CLB), a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ, and showed educational films on arsenic poisoning, mother-and-child health care and AIDS prevention. In addition, they often showed “The Jesus Film” at the invitation of local villagers.

“The Jesus Film,” the most-watched and most-translated movie in history, has been labeled by CCCI as one of “the church’s most potent evangelism tools,” leading to more than 197 million decisions to follow Christ. Over the past 25 years, the two-hour film about the life of Jesus Christ has been seen and heard in 890 languages and shown to more than 6 billion people in over 228 countries.

The Barnabas Fund, a UK-based charity serving the suffering Church, reported that the two workers had received at least two verbal threats from the head of the local madrassa (Islamic religious school), telling them to stop showing the film. After the second threat they stopped their work and were planning to leave the area, however local police say intruders entered their rented house as they were sleeping last Friday and stabbed the men to death around 2 a.m.

According to the Daily Star, the killers had chained the doors of nearby houses to prevent neighbors from rushing to the scene. Hearing the victims’ cries, however, neighbors managed to enter the house. The two severely wounded men were rushed to the nearby Boalmari Health complex in a van. Roy died in transit and Marandi died immediately after reaching the hospital.

So far, police have arrested two men in connection with the killings.

“This incident is chillingly similar to the killing of Hridoy Roy on April 24, 2003,” said Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund. “Hridoy became the first martyr of modern times in Bangladesh, when a group of seven Muslims attacked him with knives, and killed him late at night after he had been showing the Jesus film.”

“Religious liberty in Bangladesh is clearly under threat from zealous Muslims who seek to deny others the freedom to share their faith, using the most brutal methods imaginable,” Sookhdeo added.

Asia CCC’s vice-president also noted an increased trend towards persecution of Christians in Bangladesh, which has drawn concern within the Christian community in America.

“We urge the Bengali government to bring the murderers to justice and uphold the Bangladesh constitution which protects religious freedom,” he added.

According to CCCI, the Bengali Christian community and several newspapers have voiced strong outrage toward these murders. Bengali Christians plan to hold a rally to voice their sympathy toward the families of those murdered as well as a show of unity in these difficult circumstances. A memorandum from the Christian community will be sent to the Bangladesh Prime Minister urging immediate and just action be taken.