The appointment of a Catholic woman to one of Bangladesh’s top bureaucratic posts has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the minority Christian community of the predominantly Muslim nation. Nomita Halder from Shelabunia Church in Khulna Diocese was appointed acting secretary of the Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry. She is the first Christian in Bangladesh to hold such a high post in the civil service since independence from Pakistan in 1971. Halder had served as a personal secretary to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2014.
"Nomita Halder's appointment is a matter of joy and honor to minority Christians in Bangladesh,” noted Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka. “She has been very helpful to the church in times of need, and hopefully her new post will broaden the scope of her support to the community further," the cardinal said in remarks to UCANEWS.
Nirmol Rozario, president of Bangladesh Christian Association described Halder's appointment as an "inspiration" to the Christian community. "She has been appointed to the post deservedly. She has proved the notion that minorities can’t get top government posts is wrong,” Rozario told UCANEWS. “We had a state minister from the Christian community and now we have a secretary. It is not just a matter of joy but also a great source of inspiration," he said.
Muslims account for 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million population. Hindus come next with 8 percent and the rest belong to other religions including Buddhism and Christians. The majority of the estimated 600,000 Christians are Catholic. (Source: UCAN)