In the Archdiocese of Dhaka, Catholics welcomed into their community five converts who were baptised on Easter night at the church in Utholi (pictured), Manikganj district.”I am very happy, because from now I can pray to the true God, who died for us on the cross,” a 23-year-old woman said. Like the others who were baptised, she has had to overcome many obstacles to become a Christian and now risks being killed by radical Muslims.
Still, many dangers hang over converts in Utholi. “Last November, we baptised 12 former Muslims. Since then they have received death threats. Some of the parishioners come to church wearing a burqa, so as to confound Islamic fundamentalists.”
A young man who was baptised recently was the latest victim of violence. “Three masked individuals attacked him on his way home from the church. He was beaten and had to be hospitalised. Later he found shelter for a month in the parish building. He has put his life at risk by changing religion.”
The priest notes that the Catholic community has relations with local imams and Islamic leaders. However, some radical Muslim groups do not tolerate the presence of Christians. Father Thomas has called on everyone to pray for them.