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BANGLADESH

NEPAL

Population: 152 million Majority Religion: Islam (90%) Christian Population: 1 million Persecution Category: LImited

Population: 31 million Majority Religion: Hindu (75%) Christian Population: 2 million (estimated) Persecution Category: Limited

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries and one of its poorest, prone to flooding and cyclones. Formerly East Pakistan, Bangladesh was born in 1971 after civil war with West Pakistan (now Pakistan). Years of coups and military rule followed, but since 1991 Bangladesh has had a democratically elected government, although it remains politically volatile.

Until 2006 the world’s only Hindu kingdom, Nepal became a secular republic in 2008. It is still struggling to overcome the legacy of a ten-year Maoist insurrection that ended in 2006, leaving a ruined economy and political instability. A secular interim government established in 2007 granted religious freedom, but the interim constitution banned proselytism, putting Christians who evangelise at risk of fines, imprisonment and, in the case of expatriates, expulsion. A Maoistdominated government took office in 2008, and other governments have followed, but a new constitution has yet to be written.

One of very few Muslim democracies, Bangladesh is traditionally moderate and tolerant, and Christians have more freedom than in most other Muslim countries. However, minorities (including Hindus) sometimes face discrimination from local authorities and society, and Muslims who become Christians face persecution by family, neighbours and Islamic leaders. The growth of Muslim extremism in recent years has led to increased persecution, including threats, abductions, rape, beatings and arson. Since 2013, Islamists have intensified their anti-Christian violence and their campaign for the introduction of blasphemy laws (with death penalty) and the establishment of Sharia law.

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South Asia

Radical Hinduism has increased in recent years, and extremist groups such as the Nepal Defence Army, which aims to make Nepal a Hindu nation again, view the growth of the church as a threat. Violent attacks are rare, but Hindus who convert to Christianity are pressurised to recant their faith and face social ostracism and occasional discrimination and hostility.

Church in Chains Global Guide  
Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...

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