By William Stark
An eight-month pregnant woman lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Ethiopia. Already, her husband has been pronounced dead due to injuries sustained in attack perpetrated by two unidentified Muslim men. What did this couple do to deserve this? What drove these unidentified men to attack?
Burtukan and her husband, Abreham, were Christians living in Worabe, Ethiopia. Abreham was the pastor to a small Christian community in Worabe, a Muslim-dominated city known for being intolerant of non-Muslims.
In May 2011, two Muslim men approached Burtukan and Abreham at their home and demanded that Burtukan and her husband convert to Islam. Both refused to convert. As the two individuals left, they threatened Burtukan and her husband, saying they would make their lives difficult in Worabe.
Nothing would have prepared them for what was to come.
When Abreham and Burtukan were returning home from visiting a fellow Christian in Worabe, they were again confronted by the same individuals that had demanded they convert to Islam earlier that day. Instead of demanding their conversion, they attacked Abreham and began to savagely beat him. “I screamed for help, but no one came to our aid,” Burtukan told an ICC representative. After beating Abreham for what must have seemed like an eternity, the two attackers decided to turn their rage on Burtukan, an eight-month pregnant woman.
After the attack, Burtukan and Abreham were both hospitalized for the injuries they received. Unfortunately, Abreham died from the injuries he sustained. Burtukan, who was unconscious for nine days, survived along with the child she was carrying. After Burtukan learned that her husband had been killed, she fled Worabe and went to live with her family.
When ICC got word of this tragedy, a representative was sent to see what ICC could do to provide for Burtukan’s needs. Since then, ICC has been providing Burtukan with what she needs to support herself and her one-year-old daughter, who she named Birhane, meaning “my light.” ICC purchased three cows for Burtukan and built her a new house in Moricto. Even though nothing can replace her husband, ICC has helped Burtukan start to put her life back together by providing her with shelter and a way to make a living.
“ICC has provided me with so much help. They have built me a house and purchased cows for my daughter and myself. Now, I am able to rest safely with my family in Morcito, Thanks be to God,” Burtukan, said.