“I thought Christianity belonged to foreigners and was not for us Arabs,” says Mourad*, a man in his thirties. He is one of many North Africans who have decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus.
When he was still a new believer, serving in the army, he ended up in a military prison. “I was in jail for being a Christian. They didn’t say it was for that reason; I was accused of having contact with a foreigner.”
In parts of North Africa and the Middle East, Christians often end up in prison on charges that are not directly related to their faith. In 2015, a Christian in Algeria was arrested for having Christian literature in his car; however, he was held in custody for some days, accused of having a forbidden weapon in his car – it was a small tool he used for repairs.
Mourad was in prison for a month. “The first week was so difficult,” he shared. “I didn’t understand why this had happened.”
At the end of the week his friend Mustapha* came to visit him. He made it possible for him to call his wife. “It was on a Saturday at 3pm. She was at the church at that time. She was so happy to hear me. They sang a song for me in the church; she said they prayed for me. From that time on, everything changed.
“Every night I talked with my guards about Jesus. During my whole military service I shared about Jesus with only 15 people, but in just one month in prison I was able to share with more than 40 people! It was a special time for me, it was a time of training in discipleship.”
Mourad learned to be quiet and to listen. “I am a busy man,” he said. “I don’t like to sit and listen. I had no cellphone, no Bible. But I had a big paper.” He indicates with his hands a piece of paper around A3 size. “Every day I wrote a verse from the Bible, a song, and a prayer on that paper. The time in jail was a quiet time for me.”
*Real name known to God
Tunisia is number 32 on the 2016 World Watch List. Although the constitution of Tunisia currently respects freedom of religion and conversion is not prohibited, every Tunisian is automatically registered as a Muslim at birth. No new church has been granted registration since 1956, and the Tunisian authorities prevent Christian books in Arabic from being imported.
Every believer from a Muslim background in Tunisia has a story of opposition, rejection and persecution. But your prayers and support are enabling Open Doors partners to provide Tunisian believers with training, Christian literature, socio-economic development projects and advocacy support.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.