The Middle East is not the best place to be at the moment with all of the wars, conflicts, civil war and unrest that is going on, not to mention the presence of the Islamic State (IS). In other words, there is bound to be persecution of Christians in the militant and fundamentalist Muslim majority areas, and we living in other parts of the world might be praying for the persecution to cease and peace to reign. That is not the prayer request from a persecuted Christian woman who informed the American churchgoers from the pulpit at the MeadowBrook Baptist Church in Gadsden, Alabama.
Going under the pseudonym “Maryam” for security reasons, the Christian lady was given affirmation and encouragement by half a dozen pastors and ministry leaders from the US in order to make her way to the US, so that she can let American churchgoers hear of family's story of persecution. She will be encouraging the local church on the kind of faith that has been upheld by Christians in the Middle East in the face of massive persecution. .
Maryam shared on how her father was sent to jail for six months. The reason? Her father filed a complaint with the police concerning a Muslim man who was blocking the entrance to his store, followed by threats of death as well as acid attacks on her sisters to disfigure their faces and bodies. Maryam recalled the threats of the Muslim man with the following chilling words, “I will let you and your sister be orphans."
Maryam’s father was informed by the authorities to exercise forgiveness to the Muslim man who issued such threats, but he was then physically assaulted afterwards. Returning to the police for the second time, the case was filed, although the Muslim man alleged that Maryam's father had cut him instead. This meant the heavily tilted justice system for Muslims saw the Muslim man walk free from his death threats and physical assault, while Maryam's father was sent to the slammer.
Both persecution and harassment are day-to-day issues that Middle Eastern Christians, and so much so that it has built up one’s faith over the course of these repeated persecutions and harassment. Maryam also recounted her harassment experience for not covering her hair, "I was walking down the street and behind me, there were three guys, and they started to insult me and things like that. I just kept walking. They held these small stones, and they started to throw it on me. They shouted in a loud voice, 'Cover your hair!' That is what I am seeing. It's daily life. Everyday we are facing situations, and it is very hard."