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PERSECU ION International Christian Concern | June 2013

ISSUE 1/4

‘MY SON’S BLOOD WILL BE ON MY HANDS’ A Christian convert is hunted by his family

“Run!” “Run!”

Omar shouted to his friends as four bearded men with clubs approached them after ramming into their vehicle. Omar and Hamza escaped, but Rayyan and Abdul were pinned, unable to open the doors on the passenger side of the car which were wedged against the wall of a building. Omar watched helplessly from a distance while the four thugs beat his friends. “Let this be a lesson to you,” Rayyan and Abdul heard while

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MIDDLE EAST

‘MY SON’S BLOOD WILL BE ON MY HANDS’

trying to shield themselves from the blows. “Do you think you can leave Islam and get away with it?” It would be months before Rayyan and Abdul would recover from their injuries. Omar, from a prominent tribal group in the Middle East, has been hunted by his father, Muhammad, ever since his conversion to Christianity in 2009. In the spring of 2010, Omar led several of his friends to Christ and began meeting in secret to worship and read the Bible. The fellowship grew rapidly and an ‘underground’ Christian movement spread in the area. In June 2010, Ibrahim—who came to Christ during one of Omar’s worship gatherings—decided to tell his family about his newfound faith. Ibrahim’s

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uncle said he was interested in learning more about his conversion and invited him for tea. The next morning, Ibrahim was found dead in a field near his house. His throat was slit and a cup of tea was still in his hand. Police reported his death as suicide though there was no knife at the scene. Omar went into hiding soon after. PERSECUTION HEIGHTENS As the underground house fellowship grew, persecution increased. Alya, a teacher by profession whose husband had divorced her because she could not bear children, had also come to faith through Omar’s ministry. Alya’s brother learned about her conversion after finding her cell phone and the names of the Christians she worshipped with. Locking Alya in her room, he warned her that she had three days to recant Christianity and return to Islam. Alya refused. Three LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU. DO YOU THINK YOU CAN LEAVE days later, Alya was killed. ISLAM AND GET AWAY WITH IT? Fear swept through the underground church movement following Alya’s -ATTACKERS TO RAYYAN murder. Members of the fellowship, AND ABDUL, AFTER THEIR which had reached 85 by late 2011, CONVERSION WAS DISCOVERED scattered. Omar, Abdul, Hamza, and Rayyan were all that remained. After being attacked in their vehicle, Omar and Hamza did their best to nurse Abdul and Rayyan back to health and found assistance from foreign organizations to pay for medical bills. Still, Rayyan’s health continued to deteriorate and doctors said his leg needed to be amputated. Instead, Rayyan was flown to Europe for better treatment and three months later he finally recovered. A night after Rayyan’s return home, a man approached him on the street. “Do you know Omar?” the man asked. “No,” Rayyan lied. The man was not convinced and shot him. The bullet went through Rayyan’s abdomen,

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MIDDLE EAST

Devout Muslim men praying in a mosque.

sending him back to the hospital. Rayyan is still recovering today. Threats against Omar also continued. “If anyone kills my son, his blood will be on my hands,” Omar’s father Muhammad told people, according to reports Omar received from friends. “Omar has shamed our family and deserves to die.” Police also refused to protect Omar because of Muhammad’s tribal influence. “‘Why don’t you return to your father?’ police asked me. They meant that I should return to Islam so that all this would be over,” Omar told ICC. In October 2012, the four men who rammed into Omar’s vehicle and beat his friends were taken to court. Though the prosecutor insisted that Rayyan and Abdul’s injuries were the result of a car accident, substantial evidence, including an insurance claim, a doctor’s statement, and contradicting police reports, revealed that a car accident, which did minor damage to the vehicle, could not possibly have caused the injuries. The bearded men finally confessed to the crime in court. “These men converted to Christianity. They deserved it,” they told the judge. “Is it true?” the judge asked Omar. “What difference does it make?” Omar responded. “This trial is about an attack, not my religious convictions.” The judge smiled and agreed. The four men were sentenced to prison. 4

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WILLING TO DIE Omar and his friends continue to live in hiding today. In December, three armed men— commissioned by Omar’s father—found their ‘safe house’ and were looking to kill Omar. Fortunately, Omar was not home, but the threat was enough to convince Omar that it was too dangerous for his friends if he continued living with them. Omar now resides in cheap hotels, changing locations every several days and trusting that the Lord will protect and provide for him. “I have no desire to leave the country. My ministry is here, to my people,” Omar told ICC. “They may as well kill me, because I will never deny Christ. I will continue the work God has called me to by sharing my faith with my Muslim friends. For this I am willing to die.”

ICC has helped Omar and his friends with rent and food while in hiding and continues to monitor Omar’s situation. Omar and ICC are working together to determine how to support and revive the underground Christian movement in this persecuted land. Please pray for Omar and his friends who continue to lay down their lives to follow Christ.

Note: The names of Omar and his friends have been changed for their protection. No one in this article is pictured.

A FATHER’S LOVE Muhammad attempted to kill his own son, Omar, because he had abandoned Islam. This is known as apostasy. The Quran indirectly teaches that apostates should be killed, while the Hadiths explicitly teach Muslims to kill apostates. One example: “By Allah, Muhammad never killed anyone except… a man who deserted Islam and became an apostate” (Bukhari 83:37).

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A PERSECUTED PASTOR IN A CLOSED MUSLIM COUNTRY APPEALS TO ICC FOR AN UNDERGROUND PRINTING PRESS

“Dear Brother Jeff, The number of Christians [in our country] is growing every day, thousands are coming to Christ… To meet the needs, Bibles and teaching materials are greatly needed... Christians have been arrested for trying to bring Bibles into the country. We need to be able to print inside the country, this is the safest way.”

Help us Bring Life into the Darkness Right now, we have an incredible opportunity: to build an underground printing press in a closed Muslim country that will open the Word of God to a million or more people, and reduce the cost and risk of smuggling Bibles inside. Each Bible is a seed of life! AN UNDERGROUND PRINTING PRESS WILL: •

Provide 1,000,000 or more Bible portions

Lower the cost per Bible significantly

Safeguard those smuggling Bibles from being arrested

Bring life to millions!


H O W YO U C A N H E L P Will you join me in this amazing opportunity to bring life to the desert? Anytime ICC has the opportunity to put an underground printing press into a closed Muslim country, I get excited.... really excited. The reason? Because Satan imprisons Muslims and does everything he can to keep his prisoners in the dark. I know that once they meet Jesus, they will fall in love and find the Author of life. Will you help me open the prison doors and release the prisoners? Know that your gifts will be used prayerfully, efficiently, and effectively. I promise!

JEFF KING, President

W E A R E PA R T N E R I N G W I T H O T H E R M I N I S T R I E S A N D F O U N D AT I O N S T O P U T T H I S P R O J E C T T O G E T H E R , B U T W E N E E D T O Q U I C K LY R A I S E $ 5 0 , 0 0 0

D O N AT E T O D AY ! B Y M A I L complete the enclosed card B Y P H O N E call 800-422-5441 8:30-5:00 p.m. EST O N L I N E visit www.persecution.org and designate your gift to “Bibles to the Persecuted.�


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Persecution Magazine, June 2013 1/4