11/30/2023 Washington (International Christian Concern) — In countries like Myanmar and Nigeria, acts of persecution against Christians are more likely to make news reports because of their extreme violence. But in many other locations, persecution typically takes on a more subtle form. It likely won’t make any media outlet and might not have any documentation at all. But it’s still an ever-present issue that diminishes the quality of life for many Christians.
One place where such persecution occurs is Bangladesh, a South Asian nation with an overall population of 170 million, where over 90% of the people are Muslim and most of the remaining portion are Hindu.
Thomas (real name withheld to protect identity), a Christian in Bangladesh, says that many people “express their desire for conversion” to Christianity, but they don’t follow through with it due to “threats of killing and persecution.”
Many children in Bangladesh “grow up with a nasty mentality to hate other faiths,” says Thomas. In the villages, these children often target the Christian families “to steal and destroy farms and gardens.” He adds that when Christians protest such behavior, then things become more aggressive.
In the cities, says Thomas, anti-Christian sentiment can surface through harassment from non-Christian employees or having non-Christian employees refuse to cooperate with the Christian employee. The Christian employee might also get stuck with job duties on a Sunday, so that they might have to choose between attending church or keeping their job.
Thomas isn’t sure exactly what percent of Bangladeshi Muslims support acts of persecution against Christians. He says, though, that it doesn’t take much to spoil the “full bucket of milk.”
He gives the example in which you might have “just one person doing anti-Christian activities in a large Muslim family.” Maybe the other family members “silently support it,” or maybe they themselves “are also afraid” of their hostile family member. It can be very difficult for an outsider to determine which case is the reality. But either way, nobody discourages the person from acting on his hostility.
Thomas says that “anti-Christian mentality is present throughout” the country among Muslims who are either uneducated or who study in fundamentalist madrassas which teach that Bengali is not a Muslim language, and that Islam is the only legitimate religion. “It’s enough to make a soft brain child into a violent fanatic,” says Thomas.…
Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, with its overwhelming Muslim majority, some Christians are compelled to “depend on Muslim lawyers to fight against [other] Muslims” who have taken their land by coercion or with fake documents, says Thomas. These lawyers “are very clever,” he adds. They “take away money from the Christians” and then work on behalf of the Muslims.
Thomas feels that Christians are powerless to solve this problem either legally or illegally. “So, it stays as is.”
Making their way to Christian households are the next round of itinerant laborers. As Thomas describes, “They come as a humble cat and then become a tiger.”
Muslims make up 90% of the population of Bangladesh; Hindus comprise 8.5%, Buddhists 0.6%, and Christians only 0.4%.
For more ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Bangladesh, see here.
“‘Ever-Present’ Persecution in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka,” International Christian Concern, November 30, 2023: