Christian women in Bangladesh are particularly vulnerable to persecution. They are considered weak and are expected to follow orders rather than protest or fight back even though they are more than capable of doing so. An independent woman is frowned upon, and single mothers are not welcomed in society as they are treated poorly by their neighbors. Life is often even harder for converts as they endure countless persecution in the forms of mockery, threats, public shaming, and sometimes physical abuse.
Here are two stories of women who have recently faced persecution for their faith in Bangladesh.
Life was never easy for 39-year-old Fatema*. After finding out that her husband had married another woman in secret, she took both her children with her and left to live in her parents’ house. Her family was accepting of her being a newly single mother, but the rest of the villagers in their small and remote village in the northern part of Bangladesh were less than pleased to see a woman in Fatema’s position.
Despite the backlash, Fatema did everything she could to provide for her family. She found hope in Jesus not long after and she began attending the Adult Literacy Class facilitated by local partners. She found friends and a place to belong.
On August 26th, 2022, Fatema was on her way to visit her Literacy Class Facilitator with a few other students, when she felt a hard hit on her legs. Her former brother-in-law had attacked her with a large bamboo stick and left. That one hit was enough for her to lose her balance and fall to the ground. By the horrific pain in her legs, she knew something had gone terribly wrong.
The other students rushed to bring Fatema to the closest hospital where she was taken into treatment immediately. A bone in one of her legs had fractured and the doctors have ordered her to rest until she’s well enough to walk without crutches.
The perpetrator, her former brother-in-law, has despised Fatema since she chose to become a Christian. In fact, the entire family did not take the news of Fatema choosing to become a Christian well.
Fatema is currently resting but she hopes to start working again even though she wasn’t earning much, it was enough to feed her family.
Pray for Fatema
For some time, the three women read the Bible and prayed together in secret, and together they were baptized in May 2022. But the joy they had in their hearts needed to be spoken about and shared. They began sharing the gospel with a few family members.
Rupa shared the gospel with her father, Roice Udin*, who was very receptive and open to learning more about Jesus Christ. He even spoke about getting baptized soon. With much excitement, Rupa and the others hoped that everyone else would also receive this message as openly as her father has, but they did not expect what was about to happen.
Earlier this year, in August, Rashida shared the gospel with her younger son, Rustom. After telling him about how she received salvation, she asked him to read the Bible and search for this truth. Rustom had been displeased and greatly alarmed by this new development. He rushed to the Muslim religious leaders in his village to inform them about his mother.
As expected, this news of the conversions spread throughout the village. The villagers became enraged and pressured the Christian family members to renounce their faith in Jesus. They were told that if they did not renounce their faith and return to Islam, they will be kicked out of the village.
Rustom said to his mother, “You are old enough, and very close to dying. How could you commit such a sin? You will be thrown into hell. Allah will never forgive you.” He continued, “If you do not return to Islam, I will disown you. I will never accept and respect you as my mother. I will cast you out of the village myself. Still,” he pacified, “you have time to change your mind.”
Despite this emotionally painful circumstance, Rashida and the other believers in her family have remained strong in their faith. Although they are fearful and concerned about their future, they are ready to face any challenge.
Please pray for Rashida