This question was sent to me today in my e-mail. Someone thought perhaps I could answer it even though I have never lived in Bangladesh. I have some close friends from Bangladesh, and we have had some really deep discussions about Bangladesh and how they stay safe. I answered with what I have learned from my friends from Bangladesh. You see, from what I understand, there were Muslims throwing rocks at a Hindu place of worship recently, and it has really bothered the people from India, and I figured out that is why the question was being asked. Here is what I understand about the situation of staying safe in Bangladesh. You have to hit a balance to be safe.
We had the discussion about this before the recent events, but according to my friends, the Muslims are usually concerned about other Muslims. If you are from a Hindu family and believe in and practice Hinduism, usually, you are safe. However, you still need to be careful. You need to keep your mouth shut and keep your thoughts to yourself. If you meet a Muslim and make friends, be careful. It is okay to make friends with some Muslims, but not with others. I know this also because I have lived in two Muslim countries, have Muslim friends now, and have read the Koran. When my friends from Bangladesh told me about being friends with Muslims, I knew they were very right from experience. If a Muslim is a regular everyday normal person who is born into Muslim family, but really doesn’t take any religion very serious even though they are still Muslim and pray at the mosque. If they are just happy, peaceful people who may even give money to the poor, and just go about their daily lives minding their own business, you don’t have to worry about them. You can even become friends and there will be no problem. However, if they are a very serious Muslim, if they read their Koran and try to practice what is there, you are in trouble. You see, I have read the Koran. It is a very radical book. It is full of hate. It is full of pushing people to kill people who don’t believe in Islam. If anyone takes the Koran seriously, everyone around them is in trouble.
If you are a Muslim from a Muslim family in Bangladesh, if you remain Muslim, you are safe. If you try to change religions, then you are not safe. I have personally seen Muslims in other Muslim countries other than Bangladesh take a bull whip and whip people who decided just to look into another religion. If you are a Muslim and have interest in Hinduism or Christianity or some other religion, be careful. Don’t tell anyone what you think. Don’t let anyone catch you reading a Rig Veda, a Bible, the teachings of Buddha, or anything other than the Koran. Even members of your own family may come after you and even go to the point of killing you if you are Muslim and have an interest in another religion. My heart goes out to you because you really have no freedom. We really can’t control what we think and believe, either we believe something or we don’t believe it, but if you are born into a Muslim family and don’t believe in Islam, you better keep your mouth shut. If you go to a Hindu temple, if you go to a Bible study, be very careful. They may kill you. It is a fact of life.
Yes, I am a Christian, and I read my Bible, but here are some books you can find on my bookshelf. I like to read books that help me understand how other people think. I read part of the Rig Vedas several years ago, and my daughter recently told me she has a copy of some of the Rig Vedas she has been reading, and I want to read what she is reading too. I read it all. I learned a long time ago that if you understand religions and philosophies, then you understand better why people do what they do. You understand what is going on around you in the world better if you understand people’s religions and philosophies.
I read a diary of a missionary to Morocco, and he described someone who wanted to become a Christian from a Muslim family in Morocco. The person changed cars several times and was always looking over their shoulder. No one could know where they were going or what they were doing because it was so dangerous. When I lived in Morocco, it was my introduction to Islam, and as a child, I saw a woman beat with a bull whip. When I asked why, I was told she went to a Bible study, and her husband was Muslim, and he didn’t like what she did. At that time, I was neither Muslim nor Christian, but it really colored the way I thought about Muslims. I knew I could never be one, and it was really confirmed when I read not only the Koran, but when I studied the life of Mohammed. Reading those things helped me understand why Muslims do what they do better, but they also helped me understand why I could not follow them.
My friends from Bangladesh have told me that stoning happens in Bangladesh. I had read about stoning when I read the Bible. If someone did something wrong, the community took it on themselves to deal with the person in the Old Testament, but I thought it was something that happened in the past. I was surprised to learn from my friends from Bangladesh that they still stone people until they die in Bangladesh. It is not a barbaric way of handling issues of the past. It is a barbaric way of handling people who don’t believe in Islam that is still done in Bangladesh.
If someone from Bangladesh leaves Bangladesh and goes to another country, as long as they stay away from the Muslims in that country and don’t post a lot of stuff about believing another religion on Facebook or somewhere like that, then they will be fine. The only time they won’t be fine is if someone has let a radical Muslim into the country who has figured out that another person from Bangladesh who used to be Muslim is going to a Hindu temple, a Jewish temple, a Christian church, or to some other religion.
I have heard of church buildings in Pakistan and Nigeria both being burned by Muslims. In Nigeria, they now have Sharia law in part of the country, and the government has a headache because those radical Muslims attack villages that are full of Christians and kill them. Luckily, Christianity is a religion of peace, and when the government tells the Christians not to retaliate and let the government handle it, the Nigerian Christians have listened as far as I know. If the Christians didn’t listen, they could have ended up in civil war.
If you are in India and worried about the Hindus in Bangladesh, those Hindus are walking on a wobbly line. If they do things right, they will be okay, but if they don’t they could be in trouble from radical Muslims. India needs to be careful in its concerns about the Hindus in Bangladesh because they don’t want to start a war. However, if a Hindu leaves Bangladesh and asks for citizenship in India, if I were India, I would give it to them. They are better off in India than in Bangladesh. They may be okay in Bangladesh, but it is up to them, how they handle themselves, and if they stay away from radical Muslims. It is a balance they have to hit to be safe.