On the evening of September 2, Romany met a young man at a gas station while he was washing his tuk-tuk. As they got to know each other, the Muslim man introduced himself as Hassan, although we now know his real name is Khaled. Khaled took Romany’s cellphone number, saying he would call him for any future transportation needs.
Just a few days later, on September 6, around 11:30 p.m., Romany received a call from Khaled, asking him to drive him and his two young brothers to a small village nearby. This village is only less than 15 minutes away, but the road is known for being dark and dangerous in the evening.
Romany initially told Khaled the road was too dangerous to return home alone, but Khaled assured Romany that he would ride with him so they could return to their home village together. Romany then agreed to drive them. He drove the three to the nearby village and dropped Khaled’s brothers off.
Khaled rode back with Romany. During the drive, Samuel, Romany’s close friend, called and said, “I need your help with something. Where are you now?”
Romany shared his location and the road he was on. Then Samuel heard Romany cry out in pain. Samuel tried to continue the conversation and ask what had happened, but got no response. Then the phone went dead. He tried to call over and over, but Romany never answered.
Romany’s brother, Naser, shares, “Samuel then called me and told me what had happened. He thought there had been an accident on the road. I took my tuk-tuk and rushed to his last known location. I found Romany’s tuk-tuk with blood on it, but Romany wasn’t there. I searched for him but could not find him. I thought he had been in an accident, and he had been injured and taken to a hospital. I called my father, and I asked him to go make a police report. I went to hospitals, but I did not find my brother.”
Police investigated. After reviewing surveillance cameras, they determined Khaled had attacked Romany. They arrested him. After finding Romany’s body and seeing the extent and violent manner of the attack, they determined the attack was premeditated. Many believe this attack was religiously motivated. His death has united Christians in the area as they grieve the loss of this young member of their community.
Naser continues, “Romany was a very nice young man. He was humble and loved by all. He often helped needy people by driving elderly, poor and sick people for free. He had a strong relationship with God and was an active member of our church. He didn’t have any enemies and was a very peaceful person. We lost a precious person to us. We, especially my father and mother, are really struggling with his loss. Please pray that God would strengthen us and give us patience and peace to endure this great loss.”
In an instance like this, what a time to hold Romans 12:14 close to our hearts. It says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
Let’s come before our God and pray over this heart-wrenching loss.
Father God, we come before You with aching hearts. We can’t understand the hatred that would drive someone to kill another just because of their difference in belief.
We pray for those left behind, especially Romany’s father and mother. We ask You bless them with a supreme peace during this time of loss. We pray for the rest of Romany’s family, that they won’t be filled with vengeance, but instead compassion.
And we pray for Khaled, a man far from You. We ask You intervene and work in his life. Although we pray for justice, we also pray for this man’s soul, that he will come to know and love You—that he will give his whole heart to You. In all this we pray. Amen.
About the author
Tim Dustin serves on the communications team at GCR, where he writes and shares stories of the persecuted with the global Church. Read the latest Christian persecution stories on our website and learn more at GlobalChristianRelief.org.