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Christian leaders reject BBC journalist’s remark on persecution

  • Published at 10:32 pm May 5th, 2019
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Christian leaders have rejected the claims of a BBC journalist, regarding unverified reports of persecution by the government against their community Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

While Christian leaders agree that they are not being persecuted, they said, they have to remain extra careful at all times about any potential threats

The leaders of the Christian community in Bangladesh have disagreed with comments of a BBC journalist about Christians being persecuted under the current government.

But they also expressed caution and have asked all to remain extra careful at all times.

William Proloy Samadder, secretary general of the Christian Association Bangladesh, told Dhaka Tribune, “We have no idea where he has gotten the idea from. He did not even give any reference.”

He said religious extremism is a global issue now, but the local Christian community does not agree with his comment that they are being persecuted under this government.

Right after the recent Sri Lankan terrorist attack on Easter Sunday, police have reached out to them and provided security, he told Dhaka Tribune.

Also referring to the Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand, he said, people might perceive it as a hate crime committed by a Christian on Muslims. “He was, in fact, a white supremacist.”

“The common people of Bangladesh want to live in harmony. But we get hurt when we hear hateful remarks made about us during waz mahfils [Islamic speeches],” he said.   

While Christian leaders agree that they are not being persecuted, they said, they have to remain extra careful at all times about any potential threats.

Bangladesh Baptist Church General Secretary, Asim Baroi said, it is true that they get protection from the police, however, the fear remains.

Baroi said they have to remain cautious if somebody calls them or tries to meet them in person.

“Some guy named Ramzan Sikder called me, and said he wants to meet me because he wanted to convert to Christianity. There is no way of knowing what his true intention was,” said Baroi.

Reverend Barnabas Hembrom, pastoral superintendent of Rangpur Baptist Mission, told Dhaka Tribune, the government did beef up the security, but on 30 April a man tried to forcibly enter  the mission.

When police stopped him, he said he was there to meet me, he recollected. However, he did not divulge the actual purpose of his visit.

Hembrom said, he later learned from the police that they found a scissor, and some blades in the man’s bag.

Reverend Ranjit Biswas, pastoral superintendent of Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha, who is currently living in Khulna, said they do not feel insecure for being Christians in Khulna, as police gave them protection after the Easter Sunday attacks on Sri Lankan churches.

In a recent episode of the BBC show ‘Impact’, BBC News Religious Affairs correspondent Martin Bashir said that the Awami League “have openly talked about persecuting Christians” in an effort to make “scapegoat of that minority community.”