2/18/11 United Kingdom (Inspire) – Second Church Estates Commissioner Tony Baldry MP invited staff at Open Doors, supporters, MPs and Peers to the service of remembrance at the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday.
There was an introduction from Evangelical Alliance General Director Steve Clifford, plus a reading from Tony Baldry, and a song from Christian Socialist Movement director Andy Flannagan, reflecting on a visit to Egypt where he met Christians who had seen family members killed because of their faith.
Open Doors chief operating officer Lisa Pearce interviewed a woman from a country in the Middle East who had been forced to flee to the UK, after converting to Christ from a Muslim background. She spoke movingly of how she had come to faith after Jesus appeared to her in dreams, and of the threats she and her family had faced because of their new-found faith.
Prayers were said and believers remembered in a range of nations from North Korea to Eritrea, and Open Doors CEO Eddie Lyle focused particularly on the plight of Afghan believer Said Musa, whose plight has recently been highlighted in the UK national press.
A father of six who also has a prosthetic limb, he had been a Christian for eight years and worked for the International Red Cross. (Picture shows Said while he was working for the International Red Cross)
He read extracts from various letters sent by Said to Christians outside Afghanistan, describing his plight after he had been imprisoned in May last year.
“In his first letter dated 24 October 2010 he said that the authority and prisoners in jail abused and mocked him because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said that he was sexually assaulted, beaten with wooden sticks but also kicked and spat on. He said it wasn’t just one person beating him in the jail but many people. They put things on his head and mocked him saying, ‘He’s Jesus Christ’. They wouldn’t let him sleep night or day.”
While things improved for a while after he was moved to a different prison, he has consistently been refused representation in court, when the only ‘crime’ recorded against him is conversion to Christianity.
His most recent letter on 25 January stressed his right to religious freedom under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He says, “I have not committed any criminal act to my countrymen or to my government, just my sin is this, I believe in the Lord Saviour Jesus Christ.”
However, clearly is struggling. He says, “I am alone now. Please, oh brothers and sisters all around the world help me and release me. I know that my Lord is always with me. I am not alone because He himself promised that. But I want your sympathy and mercy and help.”