“My mother says that your family are infidels.”
That’s what 10-year-old Bijli* was told at school. In her village in Bangladesh, where she lives with her parents and brother, being a Christian makes you an outsider. “My friends don’t want to play with me. They push me,” she says.
But last Christmas, thanks to your support, Bijli and her family were able to find a safe haven for a short time. They attended a Christmas celebration with around 100 Christian families, all from Muslim backgrounds. It was the first time many of them experienced being in a community of believers.
That Bijli and her brother will continue to grow in their faith, and will stay connected with Christian friends of their age
That every need of Bijli’s family will be met during the impact of Covid-19
For strength and courage for families ostracised by their communities, like Bijli’s, especially during the Christmas period.
OPPRESSIVE ATMOSPHERE FOR OMANI BELIEVERS
Oman is an absolute monarchy, and the government expects obedience from its citizens – they are kept under strict surveillance. Islam is the state religion and legislation is based mainly on Islamic law. In a population of five million, just 180,000 are Christians (3.6 per cent).
Leaving Islam is seen as a betrayal of your tribe and family. There is pressure on converts to recant their faith; they can be expelled from the family home and their jobs, and face problems over child custody and inheritance. In this highly conservative society, it is especially difficult for Muslim women to choose to follow Christ.
Expatriate Christian meetings are monitored to record any political statements and whether any Omani nationals are attending. All religious organisations must be registered with the authorities.
A prayer for Oman
Lord Jesus, You know the cost believers in Oman pay for following You; today remind them afresh that You see and honour their faithfulness. Help all believers to stay encouraged and strong in their faith, and soften any resistance to those who have converted from Islam. Move in the hearts of influential people in the monarchy, that there will come from them a greater sensitivity to religious minorities that filters down into everyday life. Amen.
With many thanks for your prayers.