In the November 25 issue, we requested prayer for Christians in Bangladesh including those associated with GCI. Here is additional information from John Biswas, GCI’s national ministry leader for Bangladesh.
Pastor Barnabas Hemorn of Bangladesh recently received a threatening letter that included this message: “You, the Christian leaders, will have to bid goodbye to this world very soon…. We are going to finish off all, one by one, who are spreading Christianity in Bangladesh.” Over 20 church leaders and Christian workers in Bangladesh have received death threats like this one in the past two months.
Understandably, the people who received this letter are afraid for their safety. One commented: “I am not going out of the church campus at all… I spoke to others who like me were targeted in that letter. They are all frightened.” Police have been posted at his church.
Rev. Martin Adhikari, principal of the College of Christian Theology in Dhaka, received a text message telling him to “Eat your most favorite foods now. Only five days of your life are left. Not more than that.” Another text sent to him the next day read, “One day has gone by. Let us know if we have to arrange your burial as well. Or…will your family take care of your body?” Those sending these threats claim to be part of Islamist groups Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State. Their agenda is clear, as stated in the letter sent to Pastor Hemorn: “This country will be ruled only by the (Islamic) Sharia law.”
Although Bangladesh is a secular country and its legal system makes it one of the most tolerant Muslim-majority countries in the world, there are Islamist groups lobbying for the Islamization of the country. The situation has become increasingly volatile in recent months, and Bangladeshi Christians, who make up just 1% of a population that is 90% Muslim, are vulnerable targets.
On November 28 a Christian worker managed to escape unharmed after six masked men stormed a church in Manikganj district. Ten days earlier, an Italian Christian worker was shot in the town of Dinajpur, in northern Bangladesh. In the north-western Pabna district another Christian worker survived a knife attack in his home when three men pretending they wanted to learn about Christianity attempted to slit his throat.
Please pray for the safety of Bangladeshi Christians.