Muslim extremists haunt a new Christian in India

By August 10, 2011

India (MNN) — An Indian woman just months into her Christian walk was recently attacked for the second time in four months.

Although Hindu radicals are behind many attacks against Christians in India, "In this case, we're talking about radical Muslims who were offended that a Muslim woman left Islam to follow Jesus Christ," explains Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs.

Compass Direct reports that Selina Bibi converted from Islam in eastern India's West Bengal state, where, Nettleton says many of India's 172 million Muslims reside. The woman had been stripped and beaten four months ago when 50 Muslim extremists found out she'd become a Christian.

"She was attacked, embarrassed, and beaten up right after she came to Christ," explains Nettleton. "Now it's happened again, and they've said, ‘Hey, if you keep following Jesus, we're going to burn your house down. If you keep having Bible studies here, we're going to burn your house down.' So this is sort of another chapter in the life of faith for an Indian Christian."

During the March attack, extremists surrounded Bibi at Believers Church where she was being baptized. Compass Direct says another radical group came to the service upon discovering Bibi's conversion and verbally abused the Christians there.

Days later, two women and an extremist group brought Bibi to one of their homes and stripped her, apparently looking for marks they believe Christians are branded with when they convert. When they could not find any such mark, they began to beat her.

Bibi has been severely ostracized over the last four months, no longer able to buy goods from the store, sell vegetables, or draw water from the village well. The most-recent attack and threat came after she decided to host a weekly Bible study at her home despite the persecution.

Compass reports that a complaint has been filed, and police will prosecute if any further attacks or disturbances take place.

Many believers face persecution in India, but things have been particularly harsh for Bibi. "This is a lady who's only been a believer less than a year and already has faced significant persecution twice in her young life of faith," Nettleton points out.

Pray for Bibi's safety and for her faith in Christ to remain unshaken. Pray also for believers across India to continue preaching the Good News despite the hardships they're forced to face daily.

Although this particular attack does not seem to be connected to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in which persecution often increases, pray for believers in Muslim communities around the world who may be up against increased persecution through August.

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