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The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, and they seek the life of the upright. Proverbs 29:10 (NRSV)

Hridoy Roy (2003)
Bangladesh’s First Martyr?

Just after midnight, early in the morning of 24 April 2003, Hridoy was returning home after showing a film version of Luke’s Gospel. As he approached his house seven or eight people attacked him, stabbing him seven times. He died instantly.

Hridoy was a Bangladeshi evangelist and regularly showed the “Jesus Film”. He is believed to be the first martyr in modern Bangladesh to die in such a premeditated way. Local believers were in a state of deep shock, mourning and great fear following his death. They felt that he would not be Bangladesh’s last martyr, and tragic events in the ensuing years would seem to prove their fears to be well-founded (see July 29).

Under sharia law, conversion from Islam to another faith (apostasy) is punishable by death. This law is the fundamental reason for the hostility that most Muslims hold towards those who try to evangelise in their communities.

Dark is the sky! and veiled the unknown morrow!
Dark is life’s way, for night is not yet o’er;

The longed-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;
But, this I know, HE GOETH ON BEFORE.

Dangers are nigh! and fears my mind are shaking;
Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;

But I am His – He knows the way I’m taking,
More blessed still – HE GOETH ON BEFORE.

Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o’er me;
Doubts that life’s best – life’s choicest things are o’er;

What but His Word can strengthen, can restore me,
And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.

HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!

He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well.

J. Danson Smith