In many places around the world, Christianity isn’t the main religion. And in those places and communities, those who choose to leave the belief system of their family to follow Jesus can put themselves in serious danger. In Syria, a largely Muslim country, Christians are in the minority, and many have fled because of the fighting. But, even here, people are choosing to follow Jesus, leaving their traditional belief systems.
Specifically there have been reports of many people from a Druze background becoming Christians. The Druze are an Arabic-speaking ethnic group with their own distinctive religion that, although rooted in Shia Islam has elements of other religions and Greek philosophy. The Druze don’t permit persons from other religions to become followers of the Druze faith, they also don’t accept Druze to turn to another faith. During the war, the so-called Islamic State targeted Druze communities, and many Muslims see the Druze faith as blasphemous.
But in Syria, many Druze have come to find new faith and belief in Jesus. Recently an Open Doors fieldworker met with a members of a church in Syria where many young Druze women have courageously chosen to become Christians.
“Drugs are sold to school students, weapons are widely common, and violence is the main language of society… I teach kids of around 12-years-old, all the boys have knives. They use them to imitate their fathers or older brothers. Once I got mad at one student and he threatened me with it.”
Salwa*, public school teacher
“It’s a very closed community and we are all in danger because of coming to the church. Through the spiritual and other support the Pastor was giving I was intrigued about this God who encourages his followers to support all people regardless of their religion. That is different from other religions in the area. I started asking questions to the people who help with distribution and shared the gospel. I remember when I was home alone, I cried and talked to Jesus and I felt peace as I have never felt before. I started coming to the church to hear more and now I serve with the ladies and in worship.”
Image: A church in Syria working with believers from a Druze background
“My biggest fear is that my father finds out that I am coming to the church. He will forbid me to go and will ground me at home. He could beat me and abuse me if it ever gets out that I come here.”
“I worship in secret at home, I can’t let anyone hear me. My family denies the rumours that I go to the church, but my neighbours and friends know. When they discovered it, they stopped talking to me… All my friends left me when they knew I come here.”
“My brother in law told my husband to kill me. My husband didn’t, he threatened me and then he forbade me to go to church. My parents rejected me and stopped attending to my calls. Once I saw my mother in the street and I greeted her, but she didn’t reply.” With tears in her eyes and after pausing she continues. “I prayed and prayed for my family, and praise the Lord, my husband is a believer now too. He saw how my life changed and how I improved in all aspects of life. He wanted to know how and why, and now we come to the church together.”
“The main challenge for me is marriage. My parents want me to marry someone who is Druze. But I can’t accept to live my life in lies. I can’t pretend to be a Druze. I want to marry someone who shares my love for Jesus and knows what it means to have faith in the one true God.”
Salwa*, public school teacher
These young women have chosen to follow Jesus despite the cost. You can see from just these short quotes that their choice is a dangerous one. Please pray for them…
*Names changed for security reasons…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.