On Friday, June 1, 2018, the home of Pastor Albert Badol of Barioalapara Baptist Church in Gouripur, Mymensingh district was burnt to the ground by a Muslim extremist group.
Pastor Albert escaped this attempt on his life, during which his wife and daughter-in-law were warned to leave their village.
Pastor Albert’s house was not only a family home, but also the place of worship for his congregation. This may have been a motivating factor in the attack.
The incident occurred the day after the body of a young man was found in a pond near Gouripur railway station. After police recovered the body of 18-year-old Rahamat Ullah Kalachan, a number of individuals were accused of his murder.
Pastor Albert’s second son was accused of also being involved in the incident. He was arrested without a warrant and imprisoned on 31 May.
Hearing the allegation was against someone with a Christian name, local Muslim extremists attacked Pastor Albert and his home.
Pastor Albert managed to escape to a nearby village and is currently staying there, while his family are remaining in their own village with neighbours.
This attack comes against a landscape of persecution and land grabbing targeting Christian minority groups in Bangladesh.
On 25 May, the Catholic archdiocese sent a letter to the government of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in an attempt to reclaim land allegedly grabbed by an influential Buddhist monk, Bhante Prakash Ucha Hla, in 2014.
Attackers had forcefully taken over the land of St. Paul’s Church, a mission centre in Roangchaari, Bandarban district. The context for this situation is a country with huge land scarcity and where 75 percent of all legal cases are related to land disputes.
HOME GROUP PRAYER
“Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved,” Psalm 80:3 NIV.
We thank you that you are the protector and provider, and thank you that before the words are on our lips, you know our needs and promise to meet them.
LORD, we lift Pastor Albert to you now. We thank you for his faithfulness to you.
We thank you for his community of believers with 35 new Christians proclaiming your truth in the face of great persecution.
We thank you that Pastor Albert’s life was spared and that he and his family are safe.
We pray for your continued protection over your children, especially at this time of great fear and uncertainty.
We pray that you will bring justice in this situation and that those responsible will be held to account.
LORD, we pray for your provision and restoration of this family, this home and this church.
LORD God, in a country where land is scarce and illegal practice is common, please provide the legal structure to protect the most vulnerable and wisdom to those who implement the law.
Thank you, God, that you have your hand over this and every situation.
Materials used by kind permission of the original author.