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Christian Woman on the Run from Abusive Muslim Husband

ICC Note: Muslim man who forces a Christian woman to marry him by threatening to kill her if she doesn’t convert to Islam abuses her even while she is pregnant with his child.

4/29/08 Bangladesh (Christian Freedom International) – A mother’s testimony is serving as one more stark reminder of the severity of Christian persecution in Bangladesh.

When Mary Mondol, a Christian woman living in Dhaka, was approached by a Muslim man in 2001, an ultimatum was quickly made clear: if she didn’t marry him and convert to Islam, she would be killed. Mary reluctantly agreed to the marriage, and with one hand on the Qu’ran, was forced to profess her “new” Muslim beliefs during the wedding ceremony.

In the years that followed, Mary was repeatedly beaten and tortured by her husband and his family members, even throughout her pregnancy in 2007. After being kicked out of her home in January 2008, she finally sought help from William Gomes, a local Christian pastor who assisted her in building a legal case against her abusive husband. Although Mary’s testimony was enough to warrant his arrest and imprisonment, both she and William Gomes now fear for their lives as they continue to face ominous threats from her husband’s relatives. “I have become the target of that Muslim family,” says Pastor Gomes. “They are threatening me to stop working for her. Now I cannot give her shelter any longer .I may be killed any time, as they are very strong and are from the majority community. Being a Christian, I am a minority, and the government doesn’t give support for us. But we are praying to save her from the Muslim family.”

Mary now lives life on the run, unable to stay in one place for too long out of fear of being discovered by her husband’s family. Her story mirrors the plight of many other Christian women in Bangladesh, where forced marriage and conversion to Islam, the country’s dominant religion, has been a widespread source of fear and abuse for years. Despite the government’s claims of religious freedom for all citizens, minority Christians in Bangladesh routinely suffer beatings, arrest, and attacks on their homes and churches because of their faith.