A church has been completely destroyed in a fire in a remote village in Bangladesh – and the local Christians are struggling to find answers or receive justice from the local authorities.
On 30 June at around 10pm, the local church of a village in the Chattagram Hill Tracts region was set on fire. The church was located a little way from the village, as the majority Buddhist community did not want the church in the village itself.
The congregation of indigenous believers were heartbroken to discover their church and everything in it reduced to ashes. They face daily discrimination – not only from the community, but from local political parties as well. After the church was built in 2014, there have been non-stop complaints and aggravation from the villagers about Christians in the community.
While it’s not clear who started the fire, a few Buddhist villagers were spotted lurking around the church shortly before the fire began.
A meeting was called in the village the very next day. Those suspected of the attack have denied the allegations of arson, though they acknowledged that they were there that night. “It must’ve happened after we had left that place because we didn’t see anything,” said one of the suspects.
The vast majority of the community supported the suspects and, in turn, became very angry with the Christians for making such allegations. The meeting quickly became heated, and in an effort to ease the situation, some villagers decided that it would be best if the Christians left the meeting. Others threatened them not to bring up this issue to anyone else or rebuild the church.
The believers are currently afraid and frustrated. They can’t even complain to the local authorities about the situation as it would make their neighbours angrier. They are losing hope in seeing justice being done.
Open Doors local partners in Bangladesh are looking into ways to help the believers in this village. It’s a difficult situation and it must be handled with care. Currently, local partners are in communication with the believers and encouraging them.
For God to comfort and strengthen this group of believers as they find somewhere to meet and worship
That God will grant the believers favour in the eyes of the local authorities and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
That God will give wisdom and discernment to Open Doors local partners as they seek to support these Christians
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