To view yesterday’s account of Erin’s trip click here. Come back tomorrow to view more pictures and read additional stories of Erin’s experience in North Africa.
Erin Home From North Africa, Part 3
What is it like to be a Christian in a Muslim dominated society?
One young boy I treated was still suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, years after he was repeatedly beaten by his “friends.” The cause of the beatings? He was an Christian.
Muslim wives are to be totally dependent and obedient to their husbands. Men can marry up to four women if they can support them. Throughout most of North Africa Muslim women are required by law to wear a burqa headdresses. This of course makes it easy to spot a Christian woman. An uncovered head frequently serves as a target for beatings.
There are often guardhouses or towers beside Christian church entrances and armed guards are placed inside the churches for the “safety” of the worshipers. Christian congregations must submit petitions for any building, repair or renovation of church buildings to the government. All such work depends on government approval. Churches still often are required to shut their blinds to the outside during worship time so as not to “offend” anyone outside from hearing the Christian word being preached.
Christians in North Africa are forbidden from speaking of their faith to any Muslim for fear of being put into prison. However, Muslims are more than welcome to share their faith openly to anyone they want to. Great bureaucratic hurdles must be overcome to build a church or even to replace a pane of glass or repair a toilet. The government can and routinely does obstruct church life by refusing or delaying permission for the building and repair of churches.
Muslims account for 90% of the population in North Africa.