A local government official in central Bangladesh has halted the construction of a church, forced Christians to worship at a mosque, and threatened them with eviction from their village unless they renounce their faith.
The Tangail Evangelical Holiness Church in Bilbathuagani village, Tangail district, about 100 kilometres north of Dhaka, was started on the 8th of September this year, by a group of about 25 Christians who had been meeting secretly for three years.
However, local council chairman Rafiqul Islam Faruk joined around 200 demonstrators on September 13 to protest against the construction of the church building.
Mojnu Mia, 31, told Open Doors he was part of the group of Christians forced to accept Islam against their will. He only agreed in order to get out of the predicament, but later embraced Christianity again by swearing a confession in court.
He says: “When I said I was a Christian, they threatened to beat me and evict me from the village unless I recanted my faith in Christianity. I do not know how long we can grin and bear it. We want religious freedom. We want to practice our religion freely.”
Of Bangladesh’s 154 million people less than 1% is Christian.