Muslim villagers armed with bricks and wooden clubs savagely beat 10 Christian converts in Nilphamari district, Bangladesh, on Tuesday (June 26) and threatened to burn down their homes if they did not leave by today.
The mob gave the Christians an ultimatum on Wednesday (June 27) to leave the village within 24 hours, threatening more beatings along with home burnings; that deadline expired today without incident. Muslim extremists also threatened to kill two Christians.
A human rights advocate working on behalf of the Christians who requested anonymity said he had contacted local police and government officials, including the district commissioner, but “they are very slow to respond.” Police rejected the Christians’ attempt to file a complaint, instead threatening to arrest them for “converting Muslims.”
The attack came after 42 men and women from Muslim backgrounds were baptized at a local river on June 12.
Within days, authorities at the mosque in Durbachari banned Christians from using the village tube-well, a serious deprivation as it is the area’s only source of potable water. The Christians have since resorted to carrying water from a river 600 meters from their homes.
Muslim extremists also issued death threats against Abul Hossain and Barek Ali, two villagers appointed as leaders of the new converts.
Kamal Hossain, a cousin of Abul Hossain’s and the principal of a local madrassa (Islamic school), has repeatedly summoned Hossain to his home, demanding that he give up his Christian faith. On Sunday (June 24), he argued with Hossain for several hours before writing a statement claiming that the Christian had forcibly converted local Muslims.
At the same time, a local Muslim cleric has questioned and threatened Barek Ali repeatedly, asking how much money he received for his conversion and demanding that he abandon his Christian faith.
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