Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh
Early on 27 January, a mob attacked a group a Rohingya Christians from a Muslim background in Bangladesh. Eighteen homes and a house church have been destroyed, and at least six believers have been hospitalised. A further three Christians are believed to have been kidnapped.
The attackers are believed to be connected to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Muslim insurgent group that claims to be secular and has not pledged allegiance to any foreign Islamists groups, such as Al-Qaeda or Islamic State.
At the moment, the police have veen pressured to investigate and secure the release of the kidnapped Christians, but they have refused to take serious action without a case being filed by the Rohingya. This is difficult, as the Rohingyas are refugees in Bangladesh and don’t have citizenship.
An increase in violence against Rohingya Christians is one of the reasons the Bangaldesh rose 10 places on the 2020 World Watch List, where it is now at number 38.
Who are the Rohingya?
The Rohingya are one of many ethnic minorities from Myanmar, which borders Bangladesh. They are mostly Muslims and have their own language and culture. But while we can’t disclose specific details, our partners tell us that increasing numbers of Rohingya refugees are turning to Jesus.
In August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled from bordering country Myanmar across Bangladesh’s borders, attempting to escape a military offensive the United Nations later described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Traumatized, they poured across the border, by sea and by foot.
Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh said they fled after troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. According to UNHCR, Kutupalong is the largest refugee settlement in the world, home to more than 600,000 refugees alone.
Earlier this month (January 2020), the UN’s top court ordered the Buddhist-majority country of Myanmar to “take emergency measures” to protect the Rohingya community from genocide. Reportedly, the army in Myanmar has said it was fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians. The country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has repeatedly denied genocidal intent.
- That God will protect the lives of the missing Christians and give them strength to endure, and that they will be able to return home soon
- That their family members will find strength, trust and courage in the Lord
- That the police will investigate properly and that justice will prevail
- For the spiritual and physical recovery of the other victims of the attacks and the entire Christian Rohingya community – they are living in great fear and insecurity.