In Bangladesh, the severest persecution is reserved for those who come from Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or tribal backgrounds. Such believers can encounter restrictions, discrimination and even attacks. Gatherings with other Christians are often done in secret.
Protestant churches that are engaged in outreach among Muslim communities can also face persecution. The arrest of church leaders can destabilise Christian communities and make them feel afraid to gather for worship. Even other denominations which have historically faced less persecution in Bangladesh, such as those affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, are increasingly facing attacks and death threats.
Bangladesh's northern region, home to many ethnic minorities, is an especially difficult place for Christians to live, with persecution coming from both the Muslim majority and Buddhist minority, as well as tribal communities.
In recent years, more than 700,000 Islamic refugees have arrived from neighbouring Myanmar, with the majority located in Cox Bazar district in the southeast tip of the country. Among the refugees are a tiny minority of Rohingya converts, who can face pressure for their faith but have no means of escape.
"I have the right to choose and practise my faith. I will not forsake my faith in Jesus Christ."Jashim, who was brutally attacked by a mob
What has changed this year?
Despite a slight drop in reported incidents of violence against Christians, opposition in private life has increased and converts have been put under more pressure than in previous years. Overall, the persecution of our Bangladeshi brothers and sisters remains at a severe level.
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.
How can you pray for Bangladesh?
- Please pray that Christians facing intense pressure for their faith will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the support of local believers
- Pray that those who persecute Christians will encounter Jesus for themselves and give their lives to Him
- Pray for healing for those traumatized by attacks.
Lord Jesus, thank You that, despite the persecution many Christians in Bangladesh face, many people are coming to know You in the country. We pray for more of this, and ask that even those who are causing persecution will have life-changing encounters with You. Strengthen, encourage and protect Your people in the face of such challenges. Pour fresh hope into their hearts and give them fresh revelations of Your love. Heal all those who remain affected by attacks. Give them strength to persevere and a glimpse into the ways in which You are using their difficult experiences for good. Amen.