Three recent stories from Bangladesh show some of the different ways in which our Bangladeshi brothers and sisters face persecution – with believers from a Muslim background experiencing the most intense targeting. This persecution is physical, social and economic. But these courageous Christians are standing strong in their faith.
When Marjina found out that her son Monju had become a Christian, she was devastated. In Bangladesh, the majority of people are Muslim – and, in some communities, almost everybody is. Christians who convert from Islam face the worst persecution. Marjina was worried for her son’s safety, but also horrified that he had abandoned his Muslim upbringing.
Local religious leaders insisted that Marjina was the one to bring Monju back to Islam – and she did her best. She wasn’t violent or manipulative, but pleaded with him to abandon his new faith. But Monju had other plans – and so did God.
“I began to speak to her about Jesus and why I converted,” Monju says. Marjina loved hearing her son’s story so much that she wanted to know more and more about Jesus. Eventually, she decided to become a Christian herself. Her attempts to lead her son back to Islam had, instead, brought her to Jesus. Not long afterward, Marjina was baptised.
Sadly, this wasn’t the end of the story. In early September, when local Muslim leaders found out about Marjina’s new faith, they turned violent. They dragged her to the ground, hitting and kicking her head, stomach and chest. She had to be rushed to hospital, and still isn’t able to eat properly. Marjina and Monju are standing firm in their faith, and ask for prayers from their global family. Local Open Doors partners have supported Marjina with her medical treatment and are still supporting and praying for these brave believers.
Lord God, thank You for drawing Marjina to Yourself through Monju’s courageous witness. Please heal Your daughter from her physical injuries and trauma. Show her Your tender, Fatherly love, and protect her from further attacks. We ask You to encourage Monju and Marjina and fill them with hope and joy. Amen.
Rashida is having a different experience to Marjina. While Marjina’s son helped her realise the truth of the gospel, Rashida’s son is persecuting her for her new Christian faith.
Rashida, her daughter-in-law Fulmoti and her granddaughter Rupa all heard about Jesus when a local evangelist shared the gospel with them. Not long afterwards, they decided to commit their lives to Christ. For a while, the women read the Bible and prayed together in secret. Even when they got baptised, in May 2022, they kept their new faith hidden. But the joy they had in their hearts needed to be spoken about, and they wanted to share the gospel with people they loved.
Things went well at first. Rupa’s father was very receptive and open to learning about Jesus, and even spoke about being baptised. This encouraged the women to tell other family members – but Rashida’s son, Rustom, reacted really badly.
“How could you commit such a sin?” he said to his mother. “How could you commit such a sin? If you do not return to Islam, I will disown you. I will never accept and respect you as my mother. I will cast you out of the village myself.”
Rashida didn’t expect this rejection, and is finding it very painful. But all these courageous women are remaining strong in their faith. Open Doors local partners are in regular contact, encouraging and strengthening them – Rashida, Fulmoti and Rupa are fearful about their future, but ready to face any challenge.
Father, thank You for meeting these women and showing them Your everlasting love. We pray that our brave sisters in Christ would be built up and strengthened, knowing Your presence and grace more dearly. Please show the truth to Rustom and change his heart so that he also chooses to follow You. Amen.
Yead Ali faced a different sort of persecution when he converted from Islam to Christianity. Some believers from a Muslim background in Bangladesh are abused verbally and physically, or alienated from their family. For Yead Ali, it was his livelihood that was targeted.
Yead Ali is a carpenter. On 7 September, his warehouse was broken into – everything of value there, including all the things he needs to run his business, were stolen or destroyed. Now he can’t earn money to support his family.
“Yesterday my warehouse was full of furniture and wood. Yesterday I was very happy that I will gain some profit after selling them. But the next morning, there was nothing at the warehouse,” says Yead Ali. “They left nothing. I could not believe my eyes seeing the empty warehouse. Now I don’t know what to do.”
His carpentry business started a couple of years ago, with financial help to start up from local Open Doors partners. It was going well and Yead Ali had started gaining more clients. And that all changed overnight.
“They did not just steal my furniture and equipment, but my dreams and my hopes. I am completely destroyed within one night,” he says.
Just before starting the business, Yead Ali and his family moved from one village to another, because of persecution from the local community. But the persecution followed him. He is sure that this burglary targeted him because of his Christian faith – as he explains, the local Muslim population have always despised the small number of Christians who live in the village.
Open Doors partners are working out how best to support Yead Ali now. Your prayers can help him enormously.
God, we weep with our brother as he weeps. Please show Yead Ali and his family Your comfort and the peace that passes all understanding. Equip local Open Doors partners and the local church with wisdom and means to support the family in crisis, and keep them firm in their faith. Amen.
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