Until recent terrorist attacks, Tunisia was a holiday destination for thousands of us in the West. But look past the beautiful weather, beaches and all inclusive resorts and you’ll find that the welcoming tourist industry isn’t the whole picture. Maysam* became a Christian, despite being part of a Muslim family. When her family discovered her new faith, they kept her from going out and stopped her from attending university.
“A month after my conversion my family discovered it. My brothers even threatened to kill me.”
“‘You will stay at home, you are not worthy to study,’ my parents said. My sister beat me, my mother tried to break my glasses. They locked my in the room of my parents.”
But as she slept, imprisoned in her own home, she recalls hearing the voice of the Lord: “Don’t think that you are alone; I am always with you.”
She found a way to escape, but her family eventually convinced her to return home once more. When she got back, one of her brothers told her: “You need to choose: return to being a Muslim, where you will remain at home, you will not study or work, and you will wait for a husband who will take you as a shame. Or, remain a Christian and have no place with us.”
When Maysam made it clear that she wouldn’t leave her new faith, her family started trying to beat her again. “He [Maysam’s brother] came to beat me, but his hand was stopped centimetres from my face. He tried to hit me with his knee, but his knee also stopped without touching me. Then I hugged him.”
Tunisia, Maysam’s home, is number 32 on the 2016 World Watch List. Although the laws of Tunisia currently respect freedom of religion, and conversion from one faith to another 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.
After her family delivered their ultimatum, Maysam fled her home once more. “I am alone now. My mother told me through the phone that I am no longer her daughter. But I have since found a new spiritual family in the church. God never leaves me alone.”
*Name changed for security reasons.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.