ISIS makes ‘example’ of convert to Christianity in Bangladesh

By March 28, 2016
(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

Bangladesh (MNN) — ISIS last week claimed responsibility for the murder of a pastor in northern Bangladesh.

Joe Handley with Asian Access confirmed reports that armed extremists killed 65-year-old Hossain Ali, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1999. He was a member of Valacopa PBT Church (Paraclete Bangladesh Trust Church). Among the reasons he was targeted, “Pastor Ali came to Christ and was leading a small fellowship in his district. When he started connecting with Muslims and then they, in fact, converted and started attending church, then the pressure started coming down.”

A2’s Peter Mazumder noted in an e-mail that Ali was an enthusiastic preacher of the Gospel. [SIC] “He converted 2 other MBB neighboring families, and as their church is 1 kilometer far from their place, he started a HOUSE CHURCH at his own residence about two years before.”

However, in recent months, ISIS has said it was behind a series of attacks on religious converts and minorities in Bangladesh including Shiite, Sufi, and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, and Hindus. With their presence, says Handley, “They [church partners] are hearing reports of similar kinds of things almost daily, and so he pleaded with us to pray.”

A point to consider: amid these attacks, the country’s Highest Court is considering dropping Islam as the country’s official religion. Yesterday, Bangladesh’s Supreme Court began to hear the challenge to 28-year-old constitutional amendment. Similar situations have occurred in Nepal and Pakistan as the countries considered secularization. Each time, explosive push-back occurred.

Against this backdrop, there’s been tightly focused attention on conversions. In fact, in many Muslim nations, a change of faith is considered “apostasy.” It makes men like Ali targets. Yet, they’re fully committed to sharing the hope of the Gospel, explains Handley. “So in the midst of that, the Church is trying to rally. You’ve got this church-planting movements that are happening. The pastors that are growing in these networks and then the more mature ones, like the folks that are working with Asian Access, do all they can to try to help encourage/strengthen the Church.”

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

The greatest need in the Church of Asia is leader development. “We have made an effort to try to come alongside and build, within the context of our ministry, supporting these pastors, sponsoring them in such a way that they can receive the kind of help that they need in the midst of crisis and terror that they’re facing,” he adds, noting that by investing in these persecuted pastors, their hearts and hands are strengthened. “It emboldens them as strong pastors in these communities and nations to rally and try to support those families. In this case, Pastor Ali leaves behind a wife, a son, and three daughters.”

What’s described in this story isn’t confined to just Bangladesh. It’s all throughout South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa. It’s the new “normal,” says Handley. “This is just indicative of what we’re seeing more and more around the world. I would say at least a third to half of the countries that Asian Access works in, we have pastors facing this kind of persecution.”

A2 has a fund to support persecuted pastors. Twenty followers of Christ, contributing just $20 per month each, can provide the resources to enable one more persecuted pastor to get the invaluable training, support, and mentoring provided by the Asian Access learning community. (Click here for more information.)

The body of Christ rallies. As horrific as it was, Ali’s death is a call to prayer, concludes Handley. Here’s the thing: There are no limits to where prayer can take us. “As we pray globally, it helps these folks, and they feel more strength when they know the body of Christ is praying for them.”

Please also pray for comfort and healing for Ali’s wife and his children. May this tragedy bear witness to the love and hope that Christ offers to all who call upon His name.



  • Rebekah says:

    Just read this article and it really breaks my heart!! I sure will be praying very much!! We know the gates of hell will never prevail against the True Church of Jesus Christ!

  • Tami Carter says:

    Dear family of Ali, our hearts are broken with you at the loss of your husband & father. We in America are in awe of the faithfulness of His servants n Bangladesh. Ali died a martyrs’ death, putting aside his own life to lead others into the truth of the Gospel. All committed followers of Jesus Christ will look to Ali & those like him, as an example of what a true believer’s life really looks like. May the God of all comfort assure you of the fact that Ali is present with the Lord, & we wait upon the Lord for His return like nothing else on this earth. We all wait in unexplainable expectation of His very soon return!! this is our only hope. Our prayers are with you, his wife, son & daughters. May the precious Lord that we so dearly love hold you tenderly in His arms of grace & mercy until we all meet at the throne & sing praises to His Holy & Awesome name, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus~

  • Charles says:

    Lord Come soon but not our will but your will be done.
    Ali’s family, our Spirits cry with yours.
    when one hurts the whole body hurts.

  • Joyce Stark says:

    Beloved Ali family,

    Thank you! Your light in a dark world is not in vain.
    as paul writes in Philipians, ‘…to live is Christ, to die is gain.’
    Your husband and father truly lived. You will be together in His glory.
    I will pray and share your story, if I can do more for you God will show me.

    love your sister in Christ

  • Joyce Stark says:

    Beloved Ali family,

    Thank you for being God’s light in a dark world. Houssain’s death is not in vain, He truly lived for Christ and the message of the gospel. Thank you all for your courage and your faithfulness.
    As Paul writes in Philippians ..’to live is Christ, to die is gain.’
    Hossain truly lived and you will all be together again in His glory.
    Until then may the peace, love, and courage of our Lord surround you all. I will be praying and sharing your story.
    If there is more I can do for you God will show me.

    Love your sister in Christ

  • To the family of Ali:

    I have tears for your loss, but I am rejoicing for the faithfulness of your husband and father. I know that God has welcomed him home with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. . . . Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Mathew 25:23. What an example he was for all of us followers of Jesus who remain behind to continue the work of sharing the good news of Jesus with those around us who do not yet know the truth.

    I am praying that you will feel the loving arms of our Heavenly Father surrounding you. May you find strength and peace in Him. Thank you for standing strong for Jesus. He loves you so much!

    Your sister in Jesus,

  • Becky says:

    O my! I am praying more and more for the persecuted church. May God give grace and may He be glorified is all.

  • Debbie says:

    We lift you up in prayer!

  • Beautifully said!!! I will follow in pray. Bless you all!! In Jesus name, Amen!!!

  • Phil Marquez says:

    In prayer for Ali’s family and for all the pastor’s whose hearts are for their people to come to know Jesus.

  • Katrina says:

    Yes, Dear Ali’s family, we love you and we hurt with you and yet we do know your Dear one is with our Loving Savior now! He showed us how to stand even stronger for our Jesus!
    we love you and do ask The Almighty God to comfort and protect and strengthen your courage in Him.

  • Your Name says:

    No. In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced That neither death nor life neither angels nor demons Neither the present nor the future nor any powers Neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation Will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our lord.

  • Sylvia Arena says:

    Oh Father God, God of all comfort please cover Ali’s wife and family. may they sense your presence very close to them at this sad time. Father God provide for them, send your children all the provision they need. May the people around them be a great source of comfort and support as well.

    Lord we bring before you all the people responsible for this terrible assault upon your loved ones. Father convict these people powerfully, may they be terribly ashamed of their evilness. Speak into their hearts and by your Spirit may they understand how wrong their actions are. Oh Father bring them to repentance. Oh help them to hear you, see you and have a beautiful encounter with Christ Jesus.

    Father we pray for the other pastors, that they will be provided with the necessary resource to do your work in bringing your Gospel to the people. We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen

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