Sheikh Hasina to Christians for Christmas: 'Thank you for your contribution'
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A group of 200 Christians in Bangladesh met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to exchange Christmas greetings for Christmas 2022, at the auditorium of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in Dhaka. The initiative was organised by the Bangladesh United Christian Community with the support of the Christian Religious Welfare Trust, a governmental organisation.
Archbishop of Dhaka Msgr Bejoy N Cruze, who is also president of the Bishops' Conference, Bangladesh Christian Association president Nirmol Rozario and other Christian leaders joined the celebration. Due to Covid-19 Sheikh Hasina joined virtually from the prime minister's office.
"On the occasion of Christmas," she said, "I express my best wishes to all Christians in Bangladesh. Jesus Christ came to earth to establish justice and peace. I remember him with respect.
The prime minister expressed the hope that all believers in Bangladesh can live together in brotherhood. "Our people," he added, "do not belong to one religious faith. We work for the welfare of all. Jesus Christ taught us to do the good of man. The father of our nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also believed this. We are building Bangladesh with the spirit of a country where every person has equal rights, and I appreciate the contribution of Christians to this country".
Lastly, the prime minister reiterated his commitment to bring forward those left behind, "guaranteeing them education, work, livelihood so that Bangladesh can flourish".
For his part, Mgr Bejoy N. Cruze thanked Sheikh Hasina for this gesture of care towards the small Christian community of Bangladesh. "We pray for her," he said, "that she may lead the country properly, enlightened by God's wisdom.
Four hundred years ago, it was Portuguese missionaries who began preaching the Gospel in what is now Bangladesh. Today the country - out of a population of 166 million - has about one million Christians, half of them Catholics and half Protestants.