Suraj El-Din's Testimony (Islam)
MY CHOICE IS TO SERVE JESUS CHRIST.
Islam is the main religion in fact, the state religion in my country. Our law is subject to the demands and teachings of Islam. But I am a traitor to Islam. I was born into a Muslim family and therefore knew nothing about Jesus Christ. I had many nominal Christian friends, and I asked one of them for a Bible. When I read it, I was surprised to find that God loves me and made a way to forgive my sins.
I learned that because Jesus Christ died on the cross, I could be saved and would not have to die for my sins. In studying Islam I had not found the way to know God. In studying the Bible I found that only Jesus could satisfy my hunger for Him.
I decided to believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him. When I did that, my life changed in a very good way. I had peace for the first time. I was baptized and became a member of a church. Then I began to speak about my newfound life in Jesus Christ in many churches and among my friends.
One day in December 1981 I talked with some people in a taxi about Jesus Christ. They led me to believe they were open to hear about the Lord. When I left the taxi, they asked for the address of my church and said they would like to attend. I gave them the address, not knowing I had already been reported because of my Christian faith.
That evening they came to the church, bringing the secret police with them. I was arrested without a warrant or any legal grounds.
When I arrived at the jail, one of the guards asked why I was there. When I told him it was because I was a Christian, he called the barber to shave my head. They kept me 5 days in solitary confinement, and I was not allowed to call my family or friends to tell them where I was. The guards beat me and said I could go free if I would renounce my faith in Christ.
When I refused, the officials transferred me to the prison for the most dangerous criminals in the country. I was never given a trial by a court of law.
I was put in a small room in solitary confinement for the next 8 months. Although it is a law that all prisoners should have two blankets, when I asked for covers they said, No. You are a Christian. You will not get any covers. I slept on the rough cement floor, no bed, no blankets and continued through the winter without even the basic necessities other prisoners were given. Despite the extreme cold, I had an open window in my room and no heating. I received one meal a day made of lentils.
The had of the prison told me not to speak with anyone, as he was afraid others would believe in Jesus Christ. When the guard saw me speak with anyone, he would slap me hard and push me. Once when I was speaking with another prisoner who asked for a Bible, the head of the prison beat me with a whip.
Many soldiers came to my door and said, You are a very bad man. You are an infidel. The door to my room was closed all day except for a 5 minute break to go to the rest room. The rest of the time I stayed alone in my room.
Other prisoners were allowed to leave their rooms freely from 9 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.
For a month and a half my family did not know where I was. When they asked for information, the police said they did not know. I made the acquaintance of a prisoner who was permitted to send letters out of the prison. He sent messages to my family and friends, telling them where I was. They came to the prison but were told I was not there.
My brother, an officer in the army, asked the secret police to tell him where I was so he could visit me and try to get me to renounce my faith in Jesus Christ. After his visit they decided to let three members of my family come, but they forbade visits of any friends, thinking they would be Christians and would try to encourage me.
I was not allowed to have any money, although all the necessities such as hot water in the winter and extra food were acquired with bribes given to the guards.
My friends wanted to give me food, money, and clothes, but the authorities refused. For 2 months I had only the clothes I had been wearing when arrested. Finally, my family was able to give me clothes and some food, and another prisoner who had extra privileges quietly gave me two covers. But still I had no bed.
The secret police warned my family not to help me very much. They wanted to make things hard for me so I would give up my faith in Jesus Christ. Members of my family were afraid they would be killed.
Occasionally the secret police would send a man to ask: Will you renounce your faith in Jesus Christ and be a good Muslim again? They would try to tempt me with the offer of money and a car, my freedom, and a job with the secret police. I said no.
When the authorities realized I would not give up my faith in Jesus Christ, they decided, with no explanation, to let me out of prison on bail.
The secret police told me not to go to any church and said if they saw me in church they would arrest me again and kill me.
Muslim law requires that anyone who converts from Islam to another religion should be killed. If another Muslim were to kill me for any reason, the government would excuse him, and he would not be arrested or even punished. I am considered a traitor to Islam, deserving to be killed.
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