Published on January 21st, 2020
(Source: VOM Australia. Photo: Turkish children playing)
Children at public schools in Turkey must attend Islamic education classes. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) But Beren, a Christian girl, got permission to skip the classes, because she and her family are not Muslims. During the classes, Beren was allowed to sit in another room and do other schoolwork. She would also not need to take religious exams.
This seemed like a good solution. Then her Muslim school friends came to realize why she was not attending the classes. She was a Christian! At first, some of her friends snubbed her; they didn’t want to be associated with a Christian. Some kids decided that the situation needed to change. One day they grabbed her around the throat and shouted, “You need to be a Muslim!”
Beren was terrified. She became ill and did not want to go to school anymore. Her family tried to resolve the situation by meeting with the teachers and students. They were able to persuade the students to apologize to Beren, so she became more comfortable with attending school again.
However, this event has taken its toll. Beren is now afraid of telling friends that she is a Christian. She is still a faithful believer, but she has decided to attend the Islamic education classes to avoid being such an easy target in the future.
There are so few Christians in Turkey that many young people find they are the only believers at their school. Pray that God will comfort and encourage young people in Turkey who face bullying, and that He would provide Christian friends.