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Tensions persist in Bangladesh: church institutions given police protection
ICC Note:
Due to the recent rash of attacks on Christians one village is enjoying the protection of at least 30 police.  While this is good, the uptake in attacks against religious minorities, first the Buddhists and now the Christians, by Muslim radicals is not a good sign. Couple that with extreme poverty and, as this article says, “Bangladesh is a powder keg.”
By Reinhard Backes
06/28/13 Bangladesh (ACN News)- It is with great concern that the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need(ACN) is following the persistent tensions in Bangladesh. “In the Dinajpur diocese in the north-west of the country Catholic Christians are being repeatedly attacked by Muslim groups,” confirmed Véronique Vogel, head of the Indian section of ACN. According to the Bishop of Dinajpur, Sebastian Tudu, a missionary centre in the village of Bulakipur is being guarded by 30 policemen. “The worst of it is that in three villages which have been attacked, the men were no longer at home. Many women and children are suffering and living in fear and terror,” Bishop Tudu wrote in a letter to the charity.
Véronique Vogel commented: “For months militant forces in Bangladesh have recruited a lot of new followers. This is a very worrying development. A few months ago Buddhists were attacked and now it’s the turn of the Christians. Not only religious motives are involved here, but also political ones.” Concerning the background to the unrest, Véronique Vogel added: “There is a great shortage of land in Bangladesh, for example. Some groups therefore sometimes put simple people under great pressure with the aim of taking over their land. If on top of this they belong to a different religious community a religious and political conflict will soon develop. Bangladesh is a powder keg, a very poor country with serious social problems.”
At the beginning of June the Catholic seminary of Dinajpur was raided by Muslims. They forced their way into the building, creating havoc and attacked the 25 seminarians present. The diocese reported the matter to the police; the candidates for the priesthood were housed temporarily at another location. The background was possibly a dispute between Muslim and Christian families in a neighboring village that led to the subsequent attack on the seminary.
Bangladesh is a Muslim country. Islam is the state religion. Around 90 per cent of the 142 million inhabitants are Muslims, predominantly of the Sunni persuasion. About 9 per cent of Bangladeshis are Hindus and only 0.3 per cent Buddhists and Christians. According to the statistics, there are at present 318,000 Catholics living in Bangladesh.

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