Photo Essay – Rohingya
Responding the Persecution
Whether in the Middle East, Africa or the former Soviet Union, modern-day persecution against Christians often generates news headlines and—rightfully—motivates fellow believers toward concern and action on behalf of those who suffer for following Jesus.
But what is the responsibility of Christians to victims of religious persecution who don’t share their faith?
The recent trials of the Rohingya (a Muslim people group) have brought this question home.
Native to the Rakhine province of Myanmar, the Rohingya have fled persecution in their Buddhist-majority homeland to more than 30 countries around the world. Since September alone, over 600,000 Rohingya refugees have entered neighboring Bangladesh amid fresh violence, leading the UN to consider the Rohingya’s plight “the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.” The legal system in Myanmar does not recognize the ethnic minority as one of the 135 “national races” of the country, which means Rohingya are restricted in their movement and excluded from education and jobs.
In addition to legal discrimination, “hundreds of villages have been burned and destroyed recently,” a Pioneer serving in Southeast Asia writes. “Many people have been reported killed and many others have died from drowning and sickness.”
Pioneers in Southeast Asia are finding ways to show compassion for this devastated Muslim people group and share the gospel with Rohingya who are spiritually open. However, persecution can cause people to become even more fervent in their faith and cling to their religious and cultural heritage. Spiritual seekers face pressure from their families and communities when they begin questioning Islam or exploring Christianity.
Although he has begun reading the Bible, one Rohingya man says, “I believe all that is here, but I am a Muslim; my father, and grandfather were Muslim, so I must stay a Muslim.”
Scripture teaches that, “The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). Pray that the Rohingya will seek refuge in Him.
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