21 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


» 04/03/2012 12:43
BANGLADESH
Ex imam convert to Catholicism almost killed
by Maria Gomes
Muslim leader first becomes Presbyterian abroad. After meeting a Catholic woman, he marries her and converts to her religion. Back in Bangladesh, he is totally rejected by his community. Despite the violence and social banishment, his faith remains strong: "I believe in Christ. I welcomed him" for "he is my saviour".

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - "I believe in Christ. I welcomed him" for "he is my saviour," said Vincent (not his real name for security reasons), a former Bangladeshi imam who is now Catholic and for this reason has endured persecution for a long time in his native community.

His journey towards conversion began abroad, far from Bangladesh. It led him first to baptism in the Presbyterian Church. After that, he fell in love with a Catholic woman, married her and then converted to her faith. Once they were back in Bangladesh, Vincent and his wife were welcomed by threats and violence. Members of his community beat him almost to death.

Islam in the state religion in Bangladesh but the constitution does not recognise Sharia and guarantees freedom of worship. This makes it one of the most open Muslim states, where conversions can occur in an atmosphere of general tolerance.

However, Islam's social and cultural ascendancy is such that in many communities all sorts of pressure is put on people. In some cases, notaries refuse to sign papers testifying to conversions. In other cases, like that of the former imam, people resort to physical and psychological violence.

After almost two months in hospital, Vincent is back home. But the same Muslims who followed him and held him in high esteem when he was their imam now cannot accept his new "status".

Beating is also not enough. Other forms of violence can be used. Both husband and wife have been ostracised, forced to move from home to home. Vincent eventually lost his job and now has to do odd jobs to survive.

Today he is a troubled man. Yet, his community's banishment has not pushed him away from Jesus. He continues to attend Mass now more than ever, and repeat, "I believe in Christ. In him, I was reborn. He is my Saviour."

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/30/2010 BANGLADESH
Imam rapes ten-year-old girl
by William Gomes
04/10/2012 BANGLADESH
Bangladesh: Muslim by birth, Christian for love of Christ (more than husband)
by Maria Gomes
02/12/2010 BANGLADESH
The "prophet Jesus” arrested in Bangladesh: he called for war against Jews and Christians
by William Gomes
06/05/2009 BANGLADESH
Dhaka: Catholic chef arrested for possession of alcohol
by William Gomes
02/24/2007 BANGLADESH
From Colombia to Bangladesh, a fidei donum priest discovers the joy of missionary work

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
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.

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.