Bruce Allen with FMI shares this update: “Tomal and his family have reconciled in the weeks since then. But the local mosque saw that, ‘Oh, this Christian voice has been silenced because he’s in prison. He’s not able to lead his congregations right now. Let’s keep him in prison, even though the family has been reconciled.’”
Due to pressure from mosque leaders, Tomal was denied bail last week for the third time. The family is now taking an appeal for bail to the High Court in Dhaka, a city 200 miles away from their rural community.
“They’re taking it to, what we would say, a Supreme Court level,” says Allen. “Their reasoning is that since Dhaka is far removed from their home, the court there will be much less biased against Tomal and much less influenced by that local mosque.”
Pastor Tomal is resolved to keep sharing the hope of Christ with fellow prisoners, but it may be a long road.
“I take great encouragement from the fact that he is saying, ‘Light shines best in the darkness. So if I’m in the prison, this is where I’ll still do ministry, and there’s still hope,’” says Allen.
“Having said that, it’s still difficult for now his wife and his children who are Christians. They’re in a very vulnerable position in this society, without their husband, without their father, in the context of the wider society.”
A pastor from the same area has stepped up to serve Tomal’s family and care for his two congregations while he is in prison.
This is also where the global Church comes in. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Pray for Tomal, his family, his fellow pastor and churches. Pray for justice to be done in the courts of Dhaka.
“We understand how wearing that can be, what a burden it is when the darkness presses in on you. Let us stand alongside Tomal and hold him up before our Father,” says Allen.
Header photo courtesy of FMI.