Kristne i Bangladesh er redde for å feire jul i år, etter bølgen av terrorbomber, og forsøker å vekke så liten oppmerksomhet som mulig.
Det figurer knapt på radaren i Vest: 500.000 kristne av 140 millioner mennesker. Den kristne solidariteten er det dårlig med. Et interessant faktum i seg selv. Har det betydelig antall muslimer i Europa ført til at man kvier seg for å ta opp temaet? Oppfører det kristne flertallet i Europa seg som minoriteten i Bangladesh? Går stille i dørene? I debatten om at «dette har ikke noe med islam å gjøre», kan det være grunn til å minnes de kristnes kår rundt om i verden.
Christians in Bangladesh are planning low profile Christmas celebrations this year in the wake of a wave of bombings by suspected Islamist militants in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.
«We have rescheduled midnight masses heralding Christmas to be held earlier in the evening because of the terror risk,» said Father A. Jyoti Gomes after suicide bombings killed 30 people and wounded at least 150 in the past few weeks.
«We have asked our community members not to come to the church with handbags and to be watchful of any strangers around them. Also, we will not allow cars to enter church compounds,» said Gomes of the Holy Rosary Church in Dhaka.
Besides security provided by the government, «our own people will be at the church gates with metal detectors», the priest added.
Christian leaders met State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Babar on Sunday and expressed their concern about deteriorating law and order.
Babar promised them «blanket security» over Christmas in a country where Christians account for only about 500,000 of its 140 million people.
There are more than 100 churches in Bangladesh. The Holy Rosary Church in Dhaka’s Tejgaon area is the biggest with room for 1,500 worshippers and Gomes said about 15,000 Christians lived in the vicinity.
Christians were not generally a target of violence in Bangladesh, Christian leaders said.
«But while terrorists resort to bombings in the name of religion, anyone can be a target,» said Father Benjamin De Costa, principal of Dhaka’s Notre Dame College.
«In the present circumstances, nothing can be ruled out.»
Unidentified militants attacked a church in the southwestern district of Gopalganj in June 2001, killing 10 people during a Sunday mass. (reuters)