By BosNewsLife News Center
DHAKA, BANGLADESH (BosNewsLife) — Muslims in a village in western Bangladesh have reportedly forced two brothers to expel their parents from their home for converting to Christianity, BosNewsLife News learned Monday, January 19.
Christian news agency Compass Direct News said Ishmael Sheikh, 70, and his wife Rahima Khatun, 55, had come under pressure to leave Kathuly village, 270 kilometers (168 miles) west of Dhaka, after they were baptized in November.
Sheikh was quoted as saying that Muslim neighbors in Kathuly village, near Gangni town in Meherpur district, had compelled their two sons to expel them from their house.
“My sons are afraid that if we go back to home, their sons and daughters will not be married off in the Muslim society,” Sheikh reportedly said. “We are the first converted Christians in this village. Neighbors told my sons, ‘Why should your parents live in this village? They do not have right to live here because they are no longer Muslims.”
The couple reportedly went to a shelter used by itinerant minstrels who sing traditional Bengali songs a half kilometer away from their house.
The couple’s pastor, Jhontu Biswas, reportedly met with their sons several times, most recently, this month, asking them to take their parents back into their home. The sons would like to take them back but cannot because of the pressure from the Muslims, he was quoted as saying.
The ailing Skeikh suggested he had no regrets of his decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, Compass Direct News reported.”I got salvation in Jesus…In this shelter without food, I am ready to flirt with death by debilitating illness or by attack by Muslim neighbors, but never will I go back to Islam,” he reportedly said.
It comes at a time of international concern about reports of mounting Islamic pressure on Christians and other religious minorities in the country.
The United States State Department said in a recent report, there have been “reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious belief of practice…” in the country, where the constitution has established Islam as the “state religion,”
The government has made clear however it wants to guarantee religious freedom. Yet, the U.S. State Department said that in practice, Christian, as well as Hindu and Buddhist minorities have “experienced discrimination and sometimes violence by the Muslim majority. (With BosNewsLife Research).