Ravi Zacharias has said many times that if “you take your foot off the necks of the people,” they would leave Islam immediately and in droves. In many countries today, although there are laws guaranteeing freedom of religion, it is illegal to commit apostasy from Islam. Yemen is one such country. In this country, it is illegal for Christians to evangelize Muslims, for Muslims to leave the Islamic faith, and the latter is punishable by death.
Yemen’s state religion is Islam and their legal system is based on Shari’ah law. Below are some charts on Shari’ah tenets provided by the American Center for Law and Justice.
Many of the punishments of these laws are carried out on foreigners. In 2009, nine Christian aid workers were abducted. Three were children, ages seven and nine, and three were killed, all women. It took six months for the little girls to be released. The other four people are still missing, including the girls’ parents. Since that year literature confiscation of travellers has increased. In 2008, nine Christians were arrested for carrying Bibles.
Out of approximately 20 million people, only 3,000 are Christians. One Christian man was arrested and sentenced to death for converting from Islam, but instead was deported following a flood of international concern and pressure. Our brothers and sisters are suffering, but we can make a difference.
Pray for the Christians in Yemen. Pray for their courage and their safety. Pray for their Muslim friends and neighbors to see the light and love of Christ and to come to know Him. Pray for those in prison to be treated justly and with compassion. Pray for them to react to their conditions as Christ did– with patience and love for His persecutors. Pray for the government to revoke the Shari’ah laws and to completely embrace religious freedom.
Above all else, pray for Christ to be glorified, because this is the will of God and the desire of the suffering. I want to conclude with a quote by an Asian woman whose husband was murdered by his government, betrayed by a man he discipled for three months, all the while knowing he was a Judas.
[His death] is still like a spire in my heart, but I love this spire because for Jesus. I’m not like narcist*, to love suffer, but if for Jesus, I hug the suffer. I accept it like my jewelry.
I hug the suffer. I accept it like my jewelry. My jewelry. She views her suffering as an adornment, as something that makes her more beautiful, because that’s how Christ sees it. She is made more beautiful in his sight by suffering for His name, because it makes her more like Him, and who is more beautiful than He is?