By BosNewsLife Asia Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
MURSHIDABAD, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– A devoted Christian family in India’s eastern state of West Bengal said Friday, June 1, they fear for their lives after Muslim “extremists” raided their house church meeting, injured believers and threatened to kill them.
The troubles began March 30 when “about 100 Islamists gathered [nearby] began shouting anti-Christian slogans and threatened to murder us,” said Aimazan Bibi, who holds weekly worship services with husband Gaffar Shaike at her home in Nutangram village in Murshidabad district.
“I had invited a few Christian families for lunch and a prayer meeting at my own house. While we started the prayer service, radical Muslims [of the crowd] forcibly entered my house and attacked the gathering at around 1400 hours local time.”
She said a “Muslim radical” identified as Annu Shaike, started to kick her stomach and head “mercilessly and injured” her hand.
“He even twisted my hand very tightly and tried to break [it], but God saved my hand. Later on radical Muslims mocked [and] abused my Christian brothers and sisters,” Bibi told BosNewsLife.
“They pushed, kicked and slapped us. When my Christian brothers and sisters tried to flee, the radical Muslims blocked their way.”
She claimed the local leader of the “extremists group”, Ahammed Shaike, urged the crowd to “beat all the Christians and killed them for the sake of Allah.”
Her widowed mother was allegedly beaten while “all other Christian men and women [also] received minor injuries.”
Though the believers eventually ran away, a man with a sickle allegedly tried to kill them encouraged by the “extremist leader” and others.
She said Ahammed Shaike, his family members and “their extremists” have been threatening her family in recent years since they became Christians and started holding house church meetings. “They are openly telling us that they will murder us as we are Christians.”
BosNewsLife was not immediately able to reach Ahammed Shaike and Annu Shaike for comment, but Christians in several parts of India, including West Bengal, are known to have been threatened by hardliners from both Hindu or Muslim backgrounds.
Her husband, Gaffar Shaike, said he submitted written complaints to the local police station on March 31. Police have reportedly not yet detained suspects in the
Yet, the troubles haven’t broken her faith in Christ.
“I and my entire family accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ,” she said.
However Aimazan Bibi said she hopes Christians around the world “would pray for God’s protection for me, my family and all other Christians in Nutangram village.”
Earlier in March another Christian woman, 22-year-old Rekha Khatoon, was reportedly driven from the sane village and beaten nearly unconscious by angry Muslims after thanking Jesus Christ for a healing.
Bibi said she has urged Christians to “kindly write a letter” to the Indian and “request them to look after our situation” so “that they might take the necessary action and provide protection for me, my family and other local Christians in Nutangram.”
Several key addresses provided to BosNewsLife included India’s President Prativa Singh Patil, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110 004 with fax and phone numbers +91-11-23017290 or + 91-11-23017824 and email firstname.lastname@example.org as well as Governor of West Bengal State Narayanan Raj, Bhavan Kolkata 700 062 with phone +91-33-22001641, fax +91- 33 – 2200 2444 and emails email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Christians were also encouraged to approach Indian embassies.