A young woman from a mainly Muslim area of West Bengal was badly beaten by her parents and local Islamist extremists after she dared to speak of Jesus healing her.Release International
Rekha Khatoon, 22, was attacked on her way home from Believers Church in Nutangram, Murshidabad. Her parents helped Islamist extremists beat her almost unconscious on March 9.
Rekha had been attending some services at the church since a local Christian offered to pray with her and Rekha was healed of a gynaecological condition for which she could not afford medicines. Learning of this, her mother at first started to accompany Rekha to church but later turned against the Christians, under pressure from local Islamists.
'I boldly told those who beat me up that I may leave my parents, but that I will not leave Jesus,' Rekha says. 'Jesus has healed me, and I cannot forget Him.'
Rekha's attackers also harassed the Christian who had prayed for Rekha's healing. Rekha's father and about 20 Islamists reportedly surrounded the woman's house, threatening her and accusing her of 'forcible conversion' to Christianity. Other families in the village who have shown an interest in the church have been issued with death threats by hard-line Muslims.
Rekha is now living in an undisclosed location, having been thrown out of her home. West Bengal state is only 0.6 per cent Christian and borders Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
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A number of Christians arrested in Iran in recent months have been released on bail. They include three Christians arrested in Shiraz last month and Davoud Alijani, who was arrested in Ahvaz on December 23 (Prayer Alert, February 24, 2012) and released on March 8. Middle East Concern also reports that Giti Hakimpour, a 78-year-old detained in Esfahan for three days in February (Prayer Alert, March 5, 2012), has been given back all the property confiscated during her arrest, including her pension book and Bibles. No further details are known about any charges against her.
(Sources: Compass Direct, Middle East Concern, Operation World 2010 edition)
Pray for Rekha as she tries to build her life in a new location, away from her family. Ask God to strengthen her faith and use her to bring many others to Christ. Pray God's protection over the five Christian families remaining in Rekha's village.
Thank God for the release on bail of several Christians in Iran. Pray that no charges will be made against them. Ask God to protect them from any further harassment.