17 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 09/06/2012 15:41
BANGLADESH
Almost 300 Christian children abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in Bangladesh
by Nozrul Islam
Taken by intermediaries after they convince village families to pay for an education at pseudo hostels, the children are in fact brought to madrassas (Islamic schools) where imams force them to abjure Christianity. The latest case has a happy ending however when 11 children were able to escape from captivity.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - In Bangladesh, Christian children from Tripuri tribes have been taken away from their villages and forcibly converted to Islam. Local Catholic sources, who asked their names be withheld, told AsiaNews that almost 300 children have been taken to madrassas (Islamic schools).

The story is the same. So-called intermediaries, who are also ethnic Tripuri, visit poverty-stricken communities where they convince families to send their children to a mission hostel, charging between 6,000 and 15,000 taka (US$ 500 to 1,200) for school and board. After pocketing the money, the intermediaries sell the children to Islamic schools elsewhere in the country.

The latest case involved 11 children, ten boys and a girl, from Thanchi, Ruma and Lama in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Their story has a happy ending though. After six months of threats and violence, the children were able to escape thanks Hotline Human Rights Trust, a Dhaka-based civil rights organisation that defends minorities run by a Catholic woman, Rosaline Costa.

Tripuri are one of the many tribal groups found in Bangladesh. Most are Christian, both Catholic and Protestants, especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, in south-eastern Bangladesh.

Radical Muslims are engaged in a campaign against Christian missionaries whom they accuse of proselytising and forcibly converting others in order to create a Christian majority in the area so that it can be annexed to India.

In the latest case, the first eight boys were taken in January and February and brought to the Darul Huda Islami School in Mia Para village (Gazipur). The girl was placed in a madrassa (whose name she could not tell) in Muhammadpur, Dhaka. The other two boys were brought to another Darul Huda Islami in Maddha Badda (Gulshan, Dhaka).

Their days included Arabic lessons (8-12 AM), Qur'an reading (Nurani Shikkha, 2-5 PM) and five daily prayers.

In their respective madrassas, the children found other tribal Christians, many even younger themselves. They also saw acts of physical violence when children missed prayers or refused to take part in a lesson. In fact, after she was rescued, the girl showed scars to the hand, where she was struck with a cane.

In June, the desire to escape was kindled when imams announced that the boys would be circumcised, and that if they were ready to give their lives for Islam, they would be compensated with beheshta or heaven since no other religion could lead them there.

Scared, the first eight boys asked a Hindu family that lived near the school for help. They told their stories, asking them to contact their parents. When the latter found out what had happened to their children, they contacted the Hotline Trust to save them. Four boys escaped on 4 July; the other four on 13 July.

When the other two (somewhat older) boys found out about their escape, they too fled and contacted the Hotline Trust on their own.

The girl's rescue was a bit more complicated. She was saved only after another girl escaped and told people in her village what had happened. The girl's parents then contacted the madrassa huju or teacher asking him to let her go. The latter said the father had to come and get her.

At the school, the teacher tried to provoke the father, denigrating the Bible and accusing Christians of adultery and immorality. The father put up with the insults and eventually took his daughter home on 13 July.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/15/2009 BANGLADESH
Easter under heavy security for Catholics of Bangladesh
by William Gomes
09/08/2010 PAKISTAN
Christian woman, mother of two, abducted and forced into slavery because of debt
by Jibran Khan
10/29/2013 BANGLADESH
Dhaka: festival with magic, games and some medical care for street kids
by Nozrul Islam
03/20/2014 BANGLADESH
A million children live on the streets of Bangladesh
by Sumon Corraya
12/15/2009 BANGLADESH
Dhaka: at Christmas the sisters of Mother Teresa, close to poor Muslims and Hindus
by William Gomes

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.