“The Muslims in the village still wanted to kill me. One day, they came to do just that. They attacked me but some believers shielded me from harm. Another night, Muslims surrounded my home while I was sleeping and pelted stones on our roof.”
Amod* is on the run. He’s from the Rohingya (Muslim) tribe and converted to Christianity after 33 years as a Muslim. Christians from the Rohingya tribe are doubly disadvantaged. The country refuses to acknowledge Rohingyas, saying they are Bengali immigrants. Bangladesh, on the other hand, says they’re indigenous to Myanmar. In addition, the Rohingya tribe rejects Christians who’ve converted from Islam.
Amod applied for permission to create a church for Rohingya believers, but was refused. After that he was hounded so much that he eventually took his family to Bangladesh – but life was no easier there. So, with seven Christian Rohingya households they fled to India, where they continued to be pursued from town to town. Amod maintains his witness and pastors the families who are now scattered. His vision is to see 500,000 Rohingyas come to Christ before he dies.
The majority of Myanmar’s people are of Burmese or ‘Bama’ ethnicity – which equates with being Buddhist – and the government has used this sense of heritage to unite and ‘protect the nation’. As a result, religious nationalist movements in Myanmar are growing and even fuelled by politicians, rather than curbed.
Most Christians come from an ethnic minority background and are targeted because of this. Many face attacks by the army as it fights against independence or autonomy movements. All kinds of Christians are closely monitored in Myanmar – even Christians coming from a Burmese (Bama) background are watched, pressured and labelled as traitors. Myanmar is number 24 on the 2018 World Watch List.
*name changed for security purposes
- For persecuted Christian minorities, that they would lovingly minister to persecuted Rohingya Muslims, and that many hearts would be opened to the truth of Christ
- For courage and endurance for believers from Buddhist and Muslim backgrounds
- Recently introduced laws have made conversion very complicated, although it is not forbidden. Pray for increased religious freedom.
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