How many Christians are there in Bangladesh?
There are 1.1 million Christians in Bangladesh – a small minority of the 171 million population.
How are Christians persecuted in Bangladesh?
Christians don't just face persecution from Islamic extremists in Bangladesh, but also from militants belonging to other faiths. Bangladesh's northern region and Chittagong Hill Tracts are often overlooked hotspots for persecution against Christians at the hands of both the Muslim majority and the Buddhist minority.
Bangladeshi Christians who have converted from a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or tribal background suffer the most severe restrictions, discrimination and attacks. They often gather in small house churches or meet secretly in groups due to fear of attack.
Tribal Christians, like those from the Santal people group, are vulnerable to persecution both because of their ethnicity and because of their religion, and are often the victims of land-grabbing or targeted violence. Other churches are frequently threatened, watched and, at times, violently attacked.
Meet Pastor Swapan
“We have been enduring and praying for God to protect us.” Pastor Swapan's church (which is also an orphanage) was viciously attacked during the night by Hindu extremists
What’s life like for Christians in Bangladesh?
Women and girls are most vulnerable to persecution from their family, friends and community. Violence (including acid attacks), rape, abduction and forced marriage are common forms of religious persecution — and this violence has reportedly increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Men are often threatened and beaten for ‘betraying their culture and religion’, and some have fled their homes. Church leaders, in particular, often face false accusations of coercive conversions.
The arrival of 700,000 Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar in the past four years has led to thousands of people living in refugee camps, and repatriation or integration efforts have constantly stalled. There is a large risk of Islamic radicalisation in these camps, which is concerning for Christians living in them, as well as the wider community.
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Bangladesh?
Attacks against church buildings have continued across Bangladesh – and the authorities frequently ignore complaints when Christians bring them. Bangladesh has risen significantly on the World Watch List in the past few years, and violence is increasing.
How can I help Christians in Bangladesh?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works through local church partners to strengthen persecuted believers in Bangladesh through biblical training, Bible distribution, literacy and socio-economic development projects, and emergency relief aid.
Dear Lord, protect our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, we pray. May they see Your goodness and mercy, and have opportunities to share with others the joy of knowing You. Bless Open Doors partners as they support the persecuted church, and bring glory to Your name in Bangladesh. Amen.