The Death of Hena Akhbar
At 14, Hena Akhter was the youngest of five children born to Darbesh Khan and his wife Aklima Begum. Hena was small for her age and in a part of the world were many girls are married by their early teens, her parents still considered her too young for marriage.
So how did it come to pass that this young, well-like girl was accused of adultery and beaten to death by her fellow villagers?
Trouble began for Hena a year ago when her 40 year old cousin, Mahbub Khan, returned to Shariatpur from Malaysia. Khan made advances to Hena and harassed her as she went back and forth to school. Her father complained to the village elders, who fined Khan for his behavior, but asked Darbesh to let the issue drop.
Mahbub continued to harass Hena, who continued to rebuff his advances, but Mahbub would not be ignored. One night in late January, Hena was walking to an outdoor toilet when Khan abducted and gagged her, and then proceeded to brutally rape her in the nearby bushes.
In the ensuing struggle, Hena's cries for help roused Mahbub Khan's wife. When she discovered the pair she dragged Hena back to her hut and locked her in a room. Then Khan's wife, her mother and her aunt viciously beat Hena before turning her over to the village's illegal sharia court for a "trial."
The imam passed his fatwa on the pair. Mahbub Khan and Hena were found guilty of having an illicit affair; Khan was sentenced to receive 201 lashings, Hena 101.
Khan managed to escape his punishment with just a few lashings, while Hena received close to 80 before collapsing. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died 6 days later.
Shockingly, her autopsy report claimed that there were no injuries and that Hena had committed suicide. Her parents were shocked by this and knew that it was not the case. They proceeded to petition the court for a second autopsy and murder charges to be brought against those involved.
The high court ordered Hena's body to be exhumed and a second autopsy revealed that the girl bled to death as a result of her injuries.
Police are now conducting an investigation and have arrested several people, including Mahbub Khan, in connection with Hena's death. The doctors who issued the initial autopsy reports are also facing charges for writing a false post-mortem report.What's Next?
While many are hopeful that the government is pursuing the case against Hena's murderers, we are also left wonder what the Bengali government plans to do to prevent something like this from happening again.
The government is desperately trying to be seen as a moderate voice
The government is desperately trying to be seen as a moderate voice amid the cacophony of extremist neighbors and outlawing the brutal punishments handed down by sharia law is progress. However, the government must take steps to override the patriarchal and violent system that is entrenched in the village lifestyle. Education and a stronger local judicial system must be implemented to protect not only the women of Bangladesh but other minority groups, including Bangladesh's small and endangered Christian population.
Reports from WCICC's Bengali National Director often speak of the danger and hardship they face on a daily basis. Aside from the poverty known to all Bengali's, they face a dangerous and extreme anti-Christian bias, with no help from the "moderate" Muslim government.
WCICC continues to be vocal regarding the implementation of sharia law as demanded and dictated by Islamic minorities. Sharia has no care for the rights of women, the rights of Christians or the tolerance of religious freedom. Christians around the world, especially in the United States, must continue to vocalize their opposition to this barbaric system of religious justice implemented by Muslim extremists.
We just received an URGENT APPEAL FOR PRAYER for a devoted Christian whose life is in grave danger for distributing Bibles to fellow Christians in an undisclosed country in Central Asia. The authorities have ambushed his family and are searching for him. They want to punish him for spreading the Gospel in his homeland. Please, please pray that God will give him the strength to face whatever comes.
Dear Donna Matthews,
I often tell people that my organization is in a growth industry. . . persecution!
Wahabbis and the Muslim Brotherhood in and have attacked and threatened Christians in both countries since the "Arab Spring." In Syria, twenty masked Wahhabis on motorcycles recently opened fire on a Christian home while shouting, "Your day is here, you infidels!" At some of the recent anti-government demonstrations, Wahabbi Muslims chanted, "Alawites (the President's tribe) to the grave and Christians to Beirut!" In other words - get out of "our" country.
In Egypt, radical Muslims attacked the congregants of the Virgin Mary Church in front of hundreds of witnesses and without opposition from the police who were standing by. They brutally killed 15 worshipers, wounded 200, and burned the church.
The pastor said, "We don't talk-the church screams for itself. The church has five floors, and there is no space where the fire didn't reach. The floors, the ceiling, the pillars, the church box, the chairs, all of it - everything was burned."
A few months before the demonstrations started, a group of Christians in Egypt said that they had received a very clear message from the Lord that a period of intense crushing was coming and would last for several years.
Things are getting worse for Christians in the , and the bottom line is that we cannot stop the hatred and killing of our brothers and sisters. The Lord told us this would happen. The world is not yet under His control. Until that time, would you please join me to hold and comfort our family members that are abused in the most terrible ways? I also invite you to join us as we go beyond comforting and build the persecuted Church. God's kingdom will not be stopped.
As you partner with us, I promise to use your gifts efficiently, ethically, and effectively!
Your brothers and sisters in northern Nigeria desperately need your prayers as they continue to face persecution from Islam. In one of the most recent attacks, hundreds of Christian were slaughtered by Muslims who objected to the election of a Christian president.
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Surviving Persecution in India
A Christian family, who hosts Sunday church meetings in their home, were attacked by 10 armed men. Fleeing to a nearby teak forest, they spent the night in the midst of a heavy rain storm. Now the family remains separated by continuing threats from this rebel group. Open Doors continues to support Christians, like this family, who are facing trials and oppression because of their faith. By attending Standing Strong Through the Storm seminars, Christians in are prepared to face persecution with wisdom, faith and courage.
August 18th, 2011
"And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:27-28
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Violence and Instability Take Their Toll on Nigerian Children
Tiny Japheth lost his parents and siblings during an attack on their village when he was only seven months old. Cuddled by his mother as she protected him, he was the only family member to survive. In children face persecution based on their parents' decision to accept Christ, the children's decision to hold on to Jesus even when their parents backslide, or as victims of violence against the church in northern Nigeria.