Archbishop Emeritus of Dhaka, Patrick D’Rozario, vehemently opposes the characterization of Bangladesh’s Christian community as “persecuted” by the current government, countering the controversial letter sent by six US congressmen to President Biden. In strong opposition, D’Rozario asserts the government’s support for the Christian community and stands against bigotry.
Patrick D’Rozario was the highest-ranking priest of the Roman Catholic Church in Bangladesh from 2010 until his retirement in 2020. In 2016, he became the first Bangladeshi to be formally inducted into the Roman Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals, a prestigious body responsible for advising and electing popes.
A letter signed by six members of the US House of Representatives has been sent to the President of the United States, urging his intervention, saying:
“Sheikh Hasina’s government also has persecuted Bangladesh’s minority Christian population – burning and looting places of worship, jailing pastors, and breaking up families when a religious conversion occurs.”
What did Archbishop Emeritus say?
In response to the claim, Archbishop Emeritus Patrick D’Rozario expressed his disagreement, stating,
“Based on my experience, I can confidently say that this statement does not reflect the reality on the ground. The actual situation differs significantly from what has been mentioned in the letter.”
D’Rozario emphasized that the Christian community has received support under the current government, affirming, “It is safe to say that they have stood by us.”
“While there may have been isolated incidents in the past, this government has taken decisive measures to defend our community,” D’Rozario added.
When questioned about the potential motives behind disseminating such “misinformation” concerning the minority community, D’Rozario suggested, “My belief is that this manipulation of religion is intended for political gains.”
“Other than political ambitions, can you identify any other factor that justifies such portrayal?” the Archbishop Emeritus questioned.
Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Oikya Parishad also refuse claims
The letter has faced criticism from leaders of other minority communities, including Rana Dasgupta, the leader of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Oikya Parishad. Dasgupta strongly refuted the depiction of the state of the Hindu community in Bangladesh made by the six US congressmen.
Regarding the claim made in the letter that “Since Sheikh Hasina’s rise to power, the Hindu population has been halved,” Dasgupta categorically dismissed it.
Responding to the assertions in the letter by the US congressmen, Dasgupta commented, “As the national election approaches, a certain group has become highly active.”