Saturday, 20 December 2008

Compass Direct News

The Western World seems to have been fascinated by "the east" forever. Certainly, since the nineteenth century, with its spiritualism, theosophy and varieties of esoteric movements, we have fallen for the notion that the primitive, simple and "peaceful" religions of the east have so much more than the Christianity with which we grew up. These reports from Compass paint a quite different picture. The persecution of Christians across the world, often at the hands of so-called "peaceful" religions, gives the lie to the myth. We should not be completely naive about the deceivingly comforting stories of far, far away.

 

Buddhist clerics and local council officials are holding 13 newly converted Christians captive in a pagoda in a southeastern mountainous district of Bangladesh in an attempt to forcibly return them to Buddhism. A spokesman for the Parbatta Adivasi (Hill Tract) Christian Church told Compass on condition of anonymity that local government council officials in Jorachuri sub-district in Rangamati district, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Dhaka, are helping the Buddhist monks to hold the Christians against their will. “The 13 tribal Christians were taken forcefully to a pagoda on Dec. 10 to accept Buddhism against their will,” he said. “They will be kept in a pagoda for 10 days to perform the rituals to be Buddhists – their heads were shaved, and they were given yellow saffron robes to dress in.” Fearing for their lives, the source said, some area Christians have gone into hiding. Mogdhan Union Council Chairman Arun Kanti Chakma, the source said, warned that Christian converts would be ostracized, beaten, or killed. “The chairman threatened to beat the Christians unless they change their faith to Buddhism,” he said. “The chairman also threatened, ‘If you become Christian again, we will not keep you alive.’”

Compass Direct News

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