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ICC Note:

A 12-year-old Christian girl in Bangladesh was kidnapped by a 35-year-old Muslim man and has been missing for days. According to the girl’s family, she was abducted on May 26 and police have done little to help. Christian in Bangladesh often face widespread persecution and sometime outright persecution because of their religious identity. The kidnapping and forced conversion of Christian children is not a new issue in Bangladesh as many Christian families from the country’s tribal areas have been tricked into sending their children to Islamic madrasas where they are forcefully converted and kept from their families.  

06/01/2017 Bangladesh (Herald Malaysia Online) – A 12-year-old Catholic girl was kidnapped by a 35-year-old Muslim man, Fajal Miha, and has been missing for days. The child’s family, of tribal ethnicity, reported the kidnap yesterday, denouncing that it dates back to May 26.

Her parents waited to report the abduction for fear of social stigma affecting girls who are seized, often victims of forced violence and marriages. The child belongs to the Catholic community of Boruakona, in the district of Netrakona, diocese of Mymensingh.

Speaking to Asia News, family members complain, “We went to the police station several times, we were told we would receive their help. Now we are demoralized.”

The child was in sixth class in the local Catholic school. Teachers report that she is a brilliant and lively student. On the day of her disappearance, she had participated in a program organized by tribal students. In the evening, on the way back home, she was kidnapped by Muslims and some accomplices.

The victim’s grandfather states, “As Christians and religious minorities, we are persecuted by the Muslim majority. We can no longer live in this country.”

The grandfather says that the family have also attempted to ask for the mediation of Islamic leaders who “had assured us that we could bring our child back in 24 hours. But nothing. Police have also failed. They say they are searching.”

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