Two pastors in northwestern Bangladesh could each face two years in prison if convicted of “hurting religious sentiments.”
Police arrested the pastors Nov. 9 along with 41 people listening to their preaching at a rented house in Nabinagar village 186 miles northwest of Dhaka after at least 100 Muslims disrupted the meeting and began “jabbing” at the church leaders’ faces, sources said.
The 41 listeners, who were detained along with their children, were released that night. The pastors of Faith Bible Church of God were not released on bail until Nov. 17. They were charged with “hurting religious sentiments” and luring Muslims to convert by offering money. The church leaders deny both charges.
“We did not tell anything to anyone that might hurt religious sensibility,” one of the pastors, said. “We did not offer any money to anyone to be converted to Christianity.”
An area source told Morning Star News on condition of anonymity that the incident caused a furor among local Muslims.
“More than 100 Muslims headed by local Jamaat-e-Islami party members and Muslim clerics gathered at the house and started barking questions at the pastors — why did they propagate Christianity in the locality and convert some of them?” the source said.
Islamist leaders asked the pastors who had given them permission to spread Christianity in the area.
“The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion,” the source said. “Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors’ faces.”
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SOURCE: Morning Star News