By BosNewsLife Asia Service
DHAKA, BANGLADESH (BosNewsLife)-- A tense calm has returned to a village in northern Bangladesh after an angry mob attacked a Christian couple because they were baptised, while a Christian who carried out the baptism was beaten and lost his job, BosNewsLife learned.
Details of the February 2 violence in Gobindagonj in Gaibandha district has just emerged with police warning local residents to halt the violence. "Such courageous displays of support for minority Christians are unusual from Bangladeshi authorities," commented Barnabas Fund, an advocacy group supporting Christians in Islamic countries.
Police reportedly warned "that in Bangladesh every citizen has the right to practise their faith."
The married couple was attacked when returning home after being baptised, according to investigators. Local residents were seen attacking the man, identified only as Samuel, and his wife. One Muslim imam apparently slapped Samuel's wife on the face in front of their two young children.
The mob also broke the fence of their home and said they would chase them out of the village for leaving Islam, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
A local Christian leader who baptised them, identified as Paul, reported the incident to police, prompting an angry response from local residents. A mob reportedly went to his home and beat them.
"They tore down the fence of his home and threw it into the pond. He also lost his job," Barnabas Fund said in a statement to BosNewsLife.
The group said it had urged its supporters to "Pray for Paul, his family and those he baptised as they face violent persecution for following the Lord Jesus." With no other Christians living in the village, the family remain in what believers describe as "an extremely vulnerable position."
It was also crucial to "Pray that God will heal them of their wounds, protect them from their oppressors and provide for all of their needs," Barnabas Fund added.
Referring to Bible verse Psalm 46:1 the group asked Christians to "Pray that the Lord will be their refuge and strength, an ever present help in this time of trouble." Christians have come under increasing pressure in Bangladesh where some 90 percent of the 166-million strong population are Muslims.