* Because islam cannot afford to lose a soul. From Islam Online:
Christian Conversions Irk BangladeshisÂ
Dhaka â€” Many in Muslim-majority Bangladesh accuse Christian groups of exploiting the need of underprivileged people to lure them into Christianity with money and jobs.“Every year a large number of poor people, caste Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims and tribal people, convert to Christianity through financial support,” a senior official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs told IslamOnline.net, requesting anonymity for the sensitivity of the issue.
Mainly tribal people, low caste Hindus and Buddhists were the usual target of conversion motivated by cash and jobs.
Now Muslims are also converting.
“Poverty and economic problems are the main causes of conversion to Christianity,” says Abdullah Al-Faruque, the press manager of a leading daily newspaper.
He notes that a visit to any church on Sunday would show that most of the devotees are poor people.
“Christian missionaries and NGOs are working to convert people in the name of social service and development works,” says Abdur Rahman Mallick, an educational consultant.
“I have no information about increasing Christian population in Bangladesh,” Secretary Ataur Rahman told IOL.
He claims hundreds of NGOs, including World Vision, CARITAS, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Rangpur Dianjpur Rehabilitation Sangha (RDRS), have been involved in preaching activities for long.
“I have no information about increasing Christian population in Bangladesh,” Ataur Rahman, Secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, told IOL.
“Because there is no department in the Ministry of Religious Affairs to look into how many people convert into Christian.”
Muslims make up 85 percent of Bangladesh’s population, making it the third biggest concentration of Muslims in the world.
Hindus, Buddhists and Christians constitute the remaining 15 percent.
Father Linto recognizes that every month a number of people come and convert to Christianity in his Kakrail Church, the biggest church in the capital Dhaka.
“In Bangladesh, there is no problem to preaching Christianity,” he told IOL.
“We get all sorts of support from the government. We are minority but have influence power to the society.”
Father Linto said many schools and colleges are established by the Christian community like Notrdam College, which is situated in heart of Dhaka, as well St. Xavier’s College.
Thousand of students have been studying in these institutions.
By the 1690’s there were only 13 Augustinian churches in Bengal. But now there are more than five hundred in Bangladesh.
At present 350 fathers and 500 sisters are working for Christians Missionary under the Kakrail Church alone.
The number of Christians is estimated to stand at nearly two millions, though the Christian community publicly puts the number at only half million.
In 1947, there were as few as 50,000 Christians before increasing by four-fold by 1971.
According to government census, the Christian population was 400,000 in 2001.
Christianity came to Bengal initially with the Portuguese in the 16th century.
They built a school and hospital at Hugli, West Bengal of India, where the Portuguese had obtained permission from Emperor Akbar, a Mughal emperor, to settle.
They established a monastery in 1959 from where they reached out to other parts including Dhaka and Chitagong.
Christian conversion activities are being done discreetly and without drawing much attention.
Missionaries have reportedly been using new techniques and strategies to convert Muslims, which includes using Islamic and Arabic words in their preaching activities.
For instances, like Muslims, they call Bible as “Injil Sharif” and praying as Muanjat.
The person converting does not need to change his/her Muslim name.
Maulana Atqur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Masjid Mission, a social organization, urged the government to intervene and stop religious conversion through financial support.
“Converting into Christianity through financial support is not acceptable to humanity,” Md. Fazlur Rahman, Additional Secretary of the government and Director General of Islamic Foundation, a government department for Islamic publication and Dawah, told IOL.
“We are trying to find out this sort of immoral conversion into Christianity,” he added.
“As Muslims, we are worried about this sort of conversion and we should find out ways and means for poor Muslims and tribal people to stop this conversion process.”