A church was attacked by a mob in the remote Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh earlier this week, with the mob attempting to rape two women at the church. According to the local pastor, the attackers may have been inspired to attack the church based on a land dispute between the church and local Muslims. Attacks on Christians in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts is not uncommon. Over the past couple of years, many Christians from the Chittagong Hill Tracts have complained that their children have been kidnapped, sent to madrasas, and forcefully converted to Islam by individuals posing as employees of Christian schools.
05/13/2017 Bangladesh (UCAN) – A group of Bengali Muslim settlers attacked a Protestant church in a remote area of the Chittagong Hill Tracts and attempted to rape two indigenous Christian students, a pastor said.
A dozen or so people stormed the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Khagrachhari district on the night of May 10, said Stephen Tripura, the church pastor.
“They stormed into the church after kicking and smashing in the door. They attempted to rape my sister and niece who live there by tearing off their clothes. After hearing their cries, local Christians rushed over to help and the attackers fled,” Tripura, an indigenous Tripura told ucanews.com.
“My sister and niece moved here to get an education but now they are traumatized,” he said.
The pastor said the local church does not have any problem with local Muslims but suspected the attack might have stemmed from a land dispute.
“I have been working here for two years and there has been no problem with Muslims. However, I came to know that there was an unresolved land dispute between the church and the Muslims. I suspect that might be behind the attack,” he added.
The church authority filed a complaint but not a criminal case. “We didn’t file a case for fear of angering local Muslims further and inviting more violence,” Tripura said.
Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Dighinala police station brushed off accusations of sectarianism.
“We visited after the incident and it doesn’t seem to be a communal or church attack, rather a personal issue. Nonetheless, we are concerned about the security of the church as we are for all religious worship places,” Rahman told ucanews.com.