06/22/2009, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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The daughter converts to Christianity, Muslims marginalize the family

by William Gomes
The relatives of the young woman, who lives in the United States, speak of a "wrong" choice and demand an end to bullying. The woman risks a fatwa for apostasy, her husband seeks a divorce. Solidarity from Catholics activists who denounce the violation of religious freedom.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Marginalized by the local Muslim community as a result of their daughter’s conversion to Christianity.  This is the story of a family from Dhaka that has condemned the woman’s decision as "wrong" and stressed that "it can not endure for much longer" the harassment they are suffering. Catholic activists are in solidarity with the couple and talk about a new case of violation of human rights and religious freedom.

Kazi Quamrunnessa Luna moved to the United States after earning her degree in Bangladesh. She is married to Tazim Bhuiyan, of Muslim faith, with whom for over a decade, she tried to have children without success. The repeated condemnations and curses launched against her by her husband’s family because she failed to get pregnant, gave rise to tensions and malaise that the woman tried to relieve by starting a journey of faith. After attending Hindu temples and several churches, Luna met Pastor James Roy – of the Missouri Lutheran Church - with whom she embarked on a spiritual path.

This year she decided to convert to Christianity and received baptism in the United Bengali Lutheran Church of America. Her husband has returned to Bangladesh and family members are crying out for divorce if "Luna does not return to Islam." Kazi Zebunnessa, Luna’s younger sister, reports that "since that man has spread the news" a climate of exclusion and threats has been created around the family

 “My brother - says Kazi - can not even go to mosque. We are surrounded by an atmosphere of stigma, and if the Luna returns to Bangladesh, it is likely they will issue a fatwa against her and her life will be in danger”.  Luna's mother added that she could not "take any more pressure from people” for a decision that is "just my daughter’s" and denounces a general climate of "insecurity".

Annie Halder, a Catholic activist, speaks of an ever-growing violence against women in particular and “against all those who decide to convert to Christianity”. In this context, the activist recalls the case of Christina Gomez Goni, "killed by extremists" for apostasy.

 

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