Bangladesh (MNN) — A Christian convert from Islam was falsely arrested for cattle theft last weekend in a bid by influential Muslims to stop his Christian activities, area villagers said.
According to a story by Compass Direct News, day laborer Abul Hossen, 41, was arrested on Aug. 21 for alleged cattle theft in Dubachari village in Nilphamari district, about 180 miles northwest of the capital, Dhaka.
Christian villagers told Compass that Hossen was the victim of "dirty tricks" by influential Muslims.
"There is another Abul Hossen in the village who might be the thief, but his father-in-law is very powerful," said Gonesh Roy. "To save his son-in-law, he imputed all the blame to a different Abul Hossen who is a completely good man."
Compass reported that Hossen, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 2007, has been very active in the community, and Muslims are harassing him with the charge so his ministry will be discredited and villagers will denounce his faith, Roy said.
"If he can be accused in the cattle theft case, he will be put in jail," Roy said. "He will be a convicted man, and local people and the believers will treat him as a cattle thief. So people will not listen to a thief whatsoever."
Compass reported that some 150 villagers, about 20 percent of them Christian, went to the police station to plea for his freedom, he and other villagers said.
Sanjoy Roy, a lay pastor with Christian Life Bangladesh, told Compass that Hossen was a committed Christian, and that some Muslims have been trying to harass him since his conversion.
A former union council chairman who is Muslim, Aminur Rahman, also told Compass that Hossen was a scapegoat. "He is 100 percent good man," said Rahman, who also went to the police station to plea for Hossen's freedom the day after his arrest. Compass reported he added, "There are two or three people named Abul Hossen in the village. Anyone of them might have stolen the cattle, but I can vouch for the arrested Abul Hossen that he did not do this crime."
Muslims have pressured Hossen before, threatening to hang and torture him if he didn't convert back to Islam. However, those threats didn't change his resolve.
Pray that God will use his arrest to lead more people in Bangladesh to Christ.