18 February, 2003 BBC News BANGLADESH - Thousands of people in the Bangladeshi port city of Chittagong are flocking to a Roman Catholic church where tears are reported to have been seen on a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Many of those visiting the church are Muslims, eager to see what some locals believe is a sign of the Virgin's dismay over the recent outbreak of violence in the country and elsewhere in the world. Roman Catholic believers say it is the first time in Bangladesh that tears have been seen on a statue of the Virgin Mary.
In a country which is overwhelmingly Muslim [90%], it is unusual for a symbol of the Christian faith [read “Catholic”] to attract much interest. But so many people are gathering outside the Chittagong church that police have been deployed to ensure law and order is maintained. Roman Catholics in Chittagong say that most people are queuing up to see the statue because they are inquisitive.
Around 90% of Bangladesh's 130 million population is Muslim. In Chittagong, the second-largest city in the country, there are only around 8,000 Christians in a city of over four million people.