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Bangladesh: Christian arrested after reporting attack on young Christian family

Muslims make up 90% of the population of Bangladesh; Hindus comprise 8.5%, Buddhists 0.6%, and Christians only 0.4%.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in Bangladesh, see here.

“Arrested after reporting attack on young family in Bangladesh,” Open Doors, December 4, 2023:

Akram and his family are Christians who’ve converted from Islam. They were recently victims of a violent attack – and, when Akram reported it, he was arrested himself.

When Akram* went to the police, it was to file a complaint against the neighbours who had violently attacked his wife and his young children – including his daughter Sephali*, who is only four years old. Instead, he ended up in prison himself.

Like many of Bangladesh’s small number of Christians, Akram and his family converted from a Muslim background. This enraged Akram’s extended family and his community, and they have faced continued persecution and pressure to renounce their faith. But they have remained strong in their faith, determinedly following Jesus.

Young children assaulted
A few weeks ago, his wife and young family were physically assaulted by Muslim neighbours in their community, a remote part of northern Bangladesh. They ended up being hospitalised, so severe was the beating. It’s shocking to see a child as young as Sephali caught up in this sort of violence. On the same day as the attack, Akram went to the police – he knew who the attackers were, since they all live in the same community. Some were even his relatives. But the police didn’t take any action against the persecutors.

These same persecutors then retaliated: they filed two false accusations against Akram. He was accused of being involved with opposition political parties and undertaking anti-government activities, and he was also accused of forcibly converting Muslims to Christianity and slandering the prophet Muhammad. These are extremely serious crimes in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. False accusations are often used as a way of intimidating Christian communities, and getting police on the case of believers – though imprisonment is relatively rare.

A week after the violent attack, Akram was arrested at around 4pm from a local market. In the early hours of the next morning, he was sent to jail. He remains there at present….

*Names changed for security reasons

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