Tunisian Christians Worship Amid Death Threats

By BosNewsLife Africa Service

Tunisian Christians worship amid death threats and anti-American demonstrations in Tunisia.


TUNIS, TUNISIA (BosNewsLife)-- Some 1,500 devoted Tunisian Christian, most of them former Muslims, worship in church buildings or in house churches despite death threats and growing influence of Islamic extremists, a well-informed advocacy and aid group told BosNewsLife Monday, September 17.

Open Doors, which supports "persecuted Christians" worldwide, mentioned a man identified only as Steve who was allegedly threatened by Islamists. "They said to me: 'Do you know that it is not forbidden to kill you?' But I didn't really feel afraid," Steve was quoted as saying.

"I could answer them: 'Yes I know you can do that [you can kill me]'. They responded that I was crazy saying that. I said to them: 'Yes, I am crazy for Jesus'."

The Islamists reportedly left and didn't come back, but pressure was expected to increase on Christians like Steve amid mounting protests across the region against an anti-Islam film, posted in part on the YouTube website.

The U.S. State Department already ordered non-essential staff from its embassies over the weekend in Tunisia as well as Sudan to leave with all their family members, and advised U.S. citizens against traveling to those countries due to a rise in, sometimes deadly, anti-American violence over the film.

NEW CHRISTIAN

Threatened Christian Steve apparently became a believer some five years ago through the Internet, which is increasingly used in North Africa and the Middle East by both Christians and political activists to communicate and avoid detection.

"I found a site about the Bible and got interested," Steve explained in remarks given to BosNewsLife. "I got in contact with other Christians and I am going to a house church," he added.

He isn't alone. Tahira, a Tunisian student, is openly expressing her Christian faith, even on the social networking website Facebook, Open Doors said. "Her sister and mother also became Christians. She still lives with her family," Open Doors told BosNewsLife.

Tahira's family name was not revealed, apparently amid security concerns.

'DISCIPLELSHIP TRAINING'

Both Steve and Tahira participated in a so-called "discipleship training" that Open Doors organized for Tunisian Christians.

The training, which involves Bible study and ways to evangelize and organize churches, "is one of the ways Open Doors uses to strengthen the Tunisian church," the group said at a time of rapid changes in the country.

Yet, there are concerns about the future of Tunisia's tiny Christian minority, following recent elections.

"Home of the Jasmine revolution" which ousted President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali and "gave rise to the Arab Spring" for more freedom in other countries "Tunisia is the country where democratic transition seems to have the greatest chance of success," Open Doors said.

ISLAMIC PARTY

"However, elections in October were won by the Islamic Ennahda party, which has already announced its intention to transform Tunisia into an Islamic state," the group cautioned.

"Reports indicate that pressure on Christians, both from family and the authorities, has increased since the revolution. The murder of a Polish priest in February indicates an increase in religious violence," Open Doors said.

The group and other rights activists say radical Muslims are organizing violent demonstrations, including those over the anti-Islam film in recent days, that weakened security services find difficult to contain in this North African nation.

Open Doors said it had urged its supporters to "Pray for wisdom for the authorities" as well as an unnamed "local church leader [who] had to flee the country after his family was threatened" and protection other Christian leaders

"Foreign Christians have reported increased surveillance by the authorities. Pray for courage and discernment in sharing the Gospel," Open Doors wrote to its supporters.

3 thoughts on “Tunisian Christians Worship Amid Death Threats”

  1. As an Englishman I’m disgusted by the way islam has invaded my country and the rest of Europe. The muslim followers show no regard for the indigenous Christian people living here, instead they choose to live separate lives and establish no-go areas in the towns and cities.

    I wish we could exchange all the Arab Christians for the muslim ones that are living here!

    England is a Christian country, and if you follow our way of life and share our beliefs you would be made very welcome. Sadly, the muslims have taken advantage of our hospitality and are bleeding us dry.

    I’m worried for my children and future generations. When will islam finally be stopped in it’s tracks? The islamic ideology is all-controlling and teaches to hate and kill everyone that isn’t a muslim. How utterly barbaric!

    Christian values should be upheld in a Christian country like mine, but sadly our freedoms are slowly being removed so as not to upset the ‘muslim community’. How had why has this been allowed to happen?

    Please people, support the Christian groups overseas who are being persecuted by their muslim neighbours. Together the cancer of islam can be removed from the planet.

    Jeff

  2. obviously the Islamists think they are above the law. To take a persons life and not feel it is forbidden is totally insane. But that’s the way they think. And to know that some of the western governments tell us we have to respect Islam? We must respect a group of savages that want to kill us.? I don’t think so. Leftist liberals make the excuses…”Oh its only a small minority that causes Islamic problems.” Well, its that minority that is doing the killing and savagery. And out of 1.5 Billion muslims….that’s a very big minority.

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