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The miracles and persecution of Muslim background believers

March 20, 2023 by Abigail Hart in Persecution updates

There are nearly two billion Muslims in the world (close to 25% of the world’s population) and over 25 countries would consider Islam their primary religion. Christians living in Muslim-majority countries, like Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Niger, Pakistan and many others are often vulnerable and experience discrimination, attacks or unjust imprisonment because of their faith in Christ.

Arif*, an MBB from East Africa, explained being a Christian this way: “When a person leaves Islam and accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior, there are many pressures. His/her partner could be taken away, they could lose their property, they will be isolated from the community and their children will not have the same rights as others.” Becoming a believer comes with a cost for all, but what a real, tangible ache for many who used to be Muslim.

Islam is a religion with deep roots and committed followers. So how does a Muslim find Jesus, especially when Christianity is buried and seen as a Western religion that needs to be silenced? For Negash*, he experienced Jesus through divine intervention.

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The miraculous intervention of God

Negash lives in East Africa and at the time was a devout Muslim. In his own words, he described himself as a “extremist.” He grew up studying the Koran and came from a strict Muslim family. At his local shop, someone left a Bible behind as collateral for payment. At first, Negash was frustrated because the Bible had no value to him.

Then one night, while in a deep sleep, a man in white appeared to Negash in a dream. In the dream, the man said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” The dream was both troubling and wonderful. “I was afraid, and at the same time, I wanted to see him again,” Negash says. Later, Negash opened the Bible and found the matching passage in John 14. At that moment, he gave his life to Jesus and left Islam.

Negash’s conversion story so beautifully illustrates the length God—the Good Shepherd—will go to reach one of his lost sheep. No matter the depth of faith one may have in a certain religion or practice, a single interaction with Christ is enough to change even the boldest life course.

Like Negash, Arif, too, grew up in a Muslim home and was a devout follower. He was disgusted by Christians and even persecuted them in his village. Needless to say, he was furious when one of his friends came to know Jesus. But like Negash, God again proved no one is beyond His reach.

Arif began to have visions of a sheep charging into him; the visions were so intense they made him physically sick. Through his Christian friend, he eventually tracked down a Bible and opened it to John 14, the same way Negash did. In his own words, “I found the truth. My heart was touched and became captivated.”

Since then, Arif has fallen under the boot of oppression. “Because I found Jesus, I was beaten and imprisoned for four months. Even my family was against me and destroyed my home.” He lost his inheritance and his wife was even forced to marry another Muslim man. They also took his property and kicked him out of the community.

But through his trials, Arif has become an evangelist and wants to see other Muslims come to know Christ and receive the support and help they desperately need when they leave Islam.

The cost of Christianity

In many areas where MBBs come to know Jesus, Islam is the dominant religion. The situation immediately gets worse for MBBs when the area they come from is filled with radical Islamists, like we see in Nigeria and Afghanistan. In those areas of deepest persecution, MBBs, like Arif and Negash, are often beaten, tortured and sometimes killed.

Being an MBB has a very personal cost. When a new Christian decides to leave Islam, in many countries, these new Christians quickly learn they may have to sacrifice familial relationships, job stability, their homes, inheritance and even personal safety. But bitterness flees in the eyes of compassion. When Negash thinks about the Muslims who’ve attacked him and threatened his life, he’s not resentful or angry; instead, he breaks down in tears: “I always cry for them,” he says. “We cannot say to the blind, ‘Why can’t you see?'”

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Supporting our MBB family

Our MBB family need our prayers and support. Are you able to give today to help them? By giving, you’re letting your MBB family know they are not alone and that their global family is with and for them. Your gift today will help provide emergency relief, food aid, medicine, safe shelter—whatever it takes. You can give by clicking here.

And just as valuable as a tangible gift, will you join us in praying for our MBB family? Let’s pray God will continue to disrupt the lives of Muslims and make His presence known through dreams and visions. Pray new Christians will find other Christians to help them grow and encourage their new faith. Pray for the safety of MBBs from radicals and others who wish them harm. And lastly, pray for their personal testimony, that they won’t be shy in sharing it, but instead share it with boldness and courage.

Lord, we love our MBB family. Put it on our hearts to pray for and support them how best we can. Amen.

*Names changed and representative photos used to preserve security

About The Author
Tim Dustin is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief, a nonprofit Christian ministry that works to strengthen persecuted believers and raise awareness regarding Christian persecution. For more information, visit our website at