Amira*, a Christian convert in a Central Asian country was beaten and imprisoned by her family when her faith was discovered.
Amira was born in a small village in a country in Central Asian and raised as a Muslim. Two years ago she moved to work in a city. Here, she met Christians and started to attend a church.
When her parents found out that Amira had become a Christian, they were angry and aggressive. They said, “You are a shame and a disgrace to the family.” They asked Amira to come back to the village to visit the family.
When Amira arrived home they beat her, imprisoned her in their house and tried to force her to reconvert to Islam. Amira refused. Her family wanted to force her to marry a Muslim man, but Amira managed to escape.
Amira fled back to her church in the city. The church leaders sent her to another city for her protection. Now Amira is safe and is being helped and supported by Open Doors. She says that she still loves her parents and relatives, but she won’t ever return because she knows they will beat her again and force her to marry a Muslim.
According to research by Open Doors, Christian women, like Amira, are doubly vulnerable to persecution; targeted for both their faith and gender. Their suffering is often unseen and is ignored by the world around them. Through the campaign See. Change. Open Doors is ensuring women are treated with care and dignity, and seen when isolated.
Open Doors wants to ensure doubly vulnerable women are seen and recognised in UK government policy. Open Doors’ vision is that every woman who is persecuted for her faith to have this double vulnerability recognised by the UK government. Open Doors CEO Henrietta Blyth said: “It is important that the UK government recognises that for women like Amira her persecution and her gender are inextricably linked. That is why we are asking people to sign a handmade petition which we are presenting to the UK government in November 2019 during the Prevention of Violence in Sexual Conflict (PSVI) Conference.”
Christians in Central Asia often experience pressure from the authorities and from their communities. Christians from a Muslim background experience pressure from family, friends and community who do not accept their new faith. Some are locked up for long periods by their families and beaten. Local Islamic teachers preach against them and may cause them to be expelled from their communities.
*Name changed for security reasons