Muslim fundamentalists ostracise converts, strip woman in India

Six Christian convert families have been ostracised and threatened by Muslim leaders in their village, Christian Today has learned.

It has also been reported that a group of Muslims forced a Christian woman to strip in order to check for any marks of conversion on her body.

The incident occurred on September 4 in Natungram village in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, according to International Christian Concern (ICC), although the victims have not lodged a complaint with the police yet out of fear for their lives.

The head of a local mosque in the Muslim-dominated Natungram village, identified as Nur Islam, summoned the heads of six families that had converted from Islam to a village meeting, where hundreds of Muslims had also been called, a source told ICC.

In the meeting, the Christians were forced to deny Christ with a warning that if they refused they would be completely ostracised and possibly killed.

When the Christians refused to comply, the mosque priest asked all the villagers not to keep any contact with the Christians, told all the shopkeepers not to sell anything to them, and warned them against using any common facility, including water taps and tube wells.

Later, a number of fundamentalists went to the house of a convert woman in the same village, and forcibly stripped her, saying they wanted to check if missionaries had put any mark on her body as a sign of conversion.

All the victims are members of a house church in the same village, which is led by Khoda-e-Jamat (Gospel of Peace to Muslim Brothers), an independent, indigenous Christian organisation. The threatened families have not attended church since the incident, ICC has said.

The Murshidabad police station initially deployed a police force to prevent further tensions, but they did not arrest anyone, as no formal complaint was lodged by the victims. All local newspapers reported on the incident.

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