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Believers in hiding find support through Open Doors

Christians in Bangladesh have faced increased violence and harassment in recent weeks – please pray for our brothers and sisters as they pick up the pieces from these recent events.

BELIEVER IN HIDING WITH HIS FAMILY AFTER BEING BEATEN BY HIS BROTHER

Mizanur Rahman (25), a believer from a Muslim background, was having devotion with his family members in their home in Kurigram district, north Bangladesh on 3 August. As they were singing worship songs, his elder brother entered with some villagers. They were angry with him, saying, "You Christians are making trouble. We will beat you."

They dragged Mizanur out of the house, beating and torturing him. They also destroyed the house, including the family’s belongings. They told Mizanur and his family not to return home again, and that if they did, they would face far worse.

With help from an Open Doors partner, Mizanur tried to file a police case against the persecutors. But his brother threatened them that the situation would get worse for the family if he informed the police. As a result, they have not made the police report.

Mizanur and his wife (pictured with their children) are now in hiding; they feel frustrated and depressed. 

Mizanur and his young family.

Please pray for Mizanur and our partners as they look into his situation to see how we can help the family.

PLEASE PRAY:

  • For God’s protection over Mizanur and his family; pray that He will provide for them and that they will be able to overcome their frustration and depression over this situation 
  • For God’s wisdom for Open Doors partners looking into Mizanur’s situation, that they will be able to provide the help that Mizanur needs
  • That Jesus will reveal Himself to Mizanur’s brother and others who are intent on being hostile to Christians, that they will come to know Jesus as Lord.

CHRISTIAN VILLAGERS IN FEAR OF FUTURE RAIDS AFTER POLICE OPEN FIRE

Five Christian villagers have been shot and more than 20 people injured in Bangladesh after a conflict between the local police and Christians resulted in a mass shooting by police officials.

Four policemen, who weren’t in uniform, raided the home of a Christian woman, named Mina Doresh, who lives in Doripara, Gazipur, Dhaka, at around 9.30pm on 3 August. The men found money under a bed and took it.

Mina’s family gathered together to interrogate the men, asking them for their IDs to prove they were really policemen. But the men claimed that they had not brought their IDs. They continued to move from house to house trying to find something illegal or suspicious to justify their raids, but they could not find anything. Some of the villagers started shouting, ‘Dacoit, Dacoit!’ which means ‘armed robbers’.

Later that night, the villagers gathered together with some of the village chiefs and called the police station to confirm the four men’s identities. While this was going on, at least 30 other police officers surrounded the area where the villagers had gathered.

Without warning, the police opened fire on them. There was complete chaos, with people running everywhere. Five villagers were shot and over 20 others were injured; they were taken to the hospital for treatment.

The remaining villagers are now afraid, with everyone extremely fearful that they will be arrested by the authorities if they try to fight back. "For extra earnings, the police frequently raid these Christian villages, harass the villagers, and extort their money," said a young Christian man.

The secretary of the Doripara Parish, Mr. Milon Costa, said, "Christians drink wine for the practices of their religion and it is seen as a weakness. These dishonest police are making this an excuse to raid Christian villages repeatedly so that they can have extra money. They do it knowing it’s illegal!"

He also added that, "A few days ago, near Christian villages in the Tumlia, Nagori and Mothbari areas, there was an incident where the police harassed many Christian passers-by, simply to extort money with the accusation that the Christians are drunk on wine.

"If someone does wrong, take legal steps according to the law. Why do they not come during daytime, and wear police uniforms during the raid? Clearly they are just after the money."

PLEASE PRAY:

  • For the healing of all the victims in the shootout and their families
  • That the villagers will be united and remain faithful to God, and that He will help them fight such dishonest police actions legally. Pray for lawyers to come to their defence
  • For the police who intentionally harass the villagers for money, that they will have a change of heart and mind and repent of their actions. 

INDIGENOUS BELIEVERS BECOMING HOMELESS BECAUSE OF LAND GRABBERS

Three pieces of land in a Christian village in Chittagong Hill Tribes, northeast Bangladesh, are in the process of being taken away by land grabbers. The victims are from the Tripura tribal indigenous people group.

They are not allowed to enter their land now – land where they have lived for generations. They are given a choice to move to neighbouring lands or become homeless. But a few years from now, these neighbouring lands will also be taken away.

These land grabbers are local political leaders and influencers, large organisations and government party officials – powerful individuals. Their victims, on the other hand, are from the low poorer classes, who are targeted because they lack the resources to fight against such powerful people. The situation is worse among religious minority groups such as Christians.

These individuals first show genuine interest in various projects to benefit the poor. They then lure them to release their lands with the promise to build factories, farms, resorts, etc. The final trap is sprung when they are enticed to borrow money from them with high interest rates.

Later on, they are asked to return the money. When they fail to return it, the money lenders take their land and cast them out. In most cases, force is used. They have no choice – if they don’t comply, their lives and the lives of their loved ones are at risk.

The issue of land grabbing has caused many indigenous people to become homeless. Even though this issue is not uncommon, most of the cases continue to remain hidden and undisclosed.

Thanks to your support, Open Doors works with local churches to support persecuted believers in Bangladesh through training, literature distribution, socio-economic development and providing relief to victims of persecution.

PLEASE PRAY: 

  • For wisdom and God’s guidance for these tribal believers on how to deal with those who are taking their land from them
  • That these hidden cases would come to light so that the government can pass laws and take action to protect the rights of these minority groups.