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Ask a VOM Worker: Scary Driving

Bangladesh

Question for a VOM worker who travels in Asia: What is the scariest situation you have been in while working for VOM?

Answer: I would have to say driving in Bangladesh! I know it’s not persecution-related, but it was just crazy. National Geographic says that the road between Bangladesh and India (there’s only one road) is the most dangerous in the world. It was pretty scary.


Hunger and High Food Prices

Bangladesh

A missionary to Muslim Bangladesh said many Muslims do not observe the Ramadan fast. They want to fast, but most have very hard jobs and are not able to go without food. Also, many are poor and do not get enough to eat anyway. It would be difficult for them to eat even less food during the days of Ramadan. Many eat secretly.

Merchants in Bangladesh know that many Muslims buy lots of food for their night time meals and Ramadan feasts. Sometimes they raise prices of food during the season. This creates even more of a burden for the poor. The government is trying measures to keep prices down this year.

Nevertheless, Bangladeshi Muslims still consider Ramadan to be holy. Sometimes they get angry when Christians who used to be Muslims will not join their celebrations.


Bangladesh: Runa Finds Peace

Bangladesh

Runa’s family had no peace. Her mother was expecting the family’s seventh baby. None of the children in the family had ever been to school because the family was too poor.

They lived together in Bangladesh in a house with walls of dried mud. The roof was made of grass. The entire house was just 10 feet wide and 15 feet long. (Measure off a 10 by 15 foot space to see the size of their house.) Runa’s parents earned one meal of rice and about 75 cents each day for their work in farmers’ fields.

Every Friday, Runa’s father went to the mosque to pray. A mosque is a building where Muslims worship, and Friday is their holy day. Runa and her family tried to be good Muslims.

But they still had no peace.

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Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

RESTRICTED

Capital
Dhaka

Size
In area, Bangladesh is a little larger than the state of Iowa. But Bangladesh is very crowded. It has a larger population than the eight most populous U.S. states combined: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

A Christian worker in Bangladesh said, “That would be like squeezing half of everyone in the U.S. into the state of Iowa.”

Main Languages
Bangla (also known as Bengali)

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 6:00 p.m. in Bangladesh.

Fact
A study showed that Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriage in the world for girls under age 15.
History
Bangladesh was part of India until 1947. Then it became East Pakistan. Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971. Natural disasters are common in Bangladesh.

Religion
Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world. Less than one percent of the population is Christian.

Persecution
Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh. It is not against the law for Christians to worship, but they face serious persecution, especially if they are Christians who used to be Muslims. Muslims do not want people leaving Islam to follow Christ.

Muslim mobs often cause Christians trouble. They have threatened Christians, attacked them, torn down their houses, and destroyed rickshaws that some Christians use to make a living.