Christian leaders met with Bangladesh’s home minister to request special security for this year’s Christmas celebrations.
Twenty Christian leaders met with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal in Dhaka on Dec. 12 to discuss concerns for the Christmas season.
Nirmol Rozario, president of the Bangladesh Christian Association, told the home minister that as the largest Christian celebration, “tight security” was needed in areas where Christians live.
Apart from security, the group also requested that an uninterrupted power supply be provided during Christmas services.
Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country where instances of extremist violence against religious minorities have been recorded.
According to Ain O Salish Kendro, a legal aid and human rights organization, from January to September 2019, a total of 40 incidents against religious minorities took place, resulting in 47 people being injured.
Rozario requested that tight security be provided from Dec. 24-26. He further asked that increased security be provided immediately after Christmas, when many Bangladesihi Christians organize weddings.
Power disruptions are also a common occurrence during religious celebrations. Authorities expressed their desire to provide uninterrupted electricity to churches during the Christmas services.
While Dhaka has 90 churches, there are some 3,500 churches nationwide.
Also present at the meeting was Holy Cross priest Liton Hubert Gomes.
He asked the home minister for permission to work with Catholic prisoners during the Christmas season.
“Last month I met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The Holy Father asked us to celebrate Christmas with needy and wretched people,” Father Gomes said.
“In Bangladesh work in jail is very challenging. Therefore, I [am asking for] permission to work with Catholic prisoners in jail.”