09/13/2018, 11.51
BANGLADESH
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Catholic family from Jessore persecuted for the faith and for their home

by Sumon Corraya

Members had been threatened for some time by a local Muslim who wanted to take over land and houses. The women of the family were harassed by the attackers. The daughters of the Catholic are afraid to leave the house and are not going to school.

Jessore (AsiaNews) - A Catholic family from Jessore, in the diocese of Khulna, lives in fear of death and of suffering violent attacks. For some time Solomon Das, a 43-year-old fisherman residing in the village of Gilapol, and his family have received threats and intimidation for their faith.

His property and those of other Christians are coveted by Tariqul Islam Milon, a local Muslim wants to take hold of land and houses. In the end he chose the use of force to achieve his goals and last Saturday [September 8] sent a handful of thugs who devastated Solomon's home. Now the Catholic and his family members do not leave home for fear of new violence and his daughters are missing their classes in high school and university.

Solomon lives near the parish of Shimulia. He reports: "The Muslim had long tried to extort the house. I feel helpless. We are a humble family, we do not have big assets. Now I cannot go out to go to work ". "If I do not work - he adds desperately – how will my family eat? My daughters do not go to school because it's not safe for them. Also during the attack, the attackers harassed the women in my family. Then they threatened us not to tell the police anything. My wife and my daughters are still traumatized".

Even Ratan Das, the Catholic’s brother-in-law who lives in the same house, is afraid. "I received death threats on Facebook. My wife and I fear for our life".

In the raid, the criminals devastated the building and destroyed the furniture. Then they stole the money, some gold jewelry and three cell phones. They desecrated the religious statues in the house and the image of Jesus. The same evening Solomon filed a complaint against 17 people. The next day the police arrested eight, but on Monday [September 10] they released them on bail. From there the death threats began.

Fr Dominic K. Halder, parish priest of the Catholic Church in Shimulia, is concerned about what happened. He asks for help for the persecuted faithful and for the police to do justice. He also sent a group to ascertain the conditions under which Catholics live.

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