Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Despair Behind The Burqa

My heart has been burdened for Muslim women for many years. They live oppressed in Islamic-governed countries, and the burqa they’re forced to wear is merely a symbol of the oppression. The lack of hope in their souls is distressing, yet it’s also an opportunity.

Why an opportunity?

Last week, I participated in the Global Missions Conference hosted by my church. It was interesting to listen to missionaries who work in Islamic countries and see firsthand the evil of that religion—so many lost souls who die with no hope of eternal security.

Opportunity exists for folks to participate in global missions, both as missionaries and as supporters. As such, we can help those in the field share the hope and love of Jesus with Muslims. Of the ninety-nine Islamic names for Allah, among them Judge and The Hidden One, none are love. I don’t know about you, but I find that very sad.

Aisha punished for 
leaving abusive marriage
Famed mathematician and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal once said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Nowhere is that vacuum more apparent than in the eyes behind the burqa.

Isn’t it sad that Muslim women are taught they can only get to heaven through their husband? Doubly sad because, just as Christian women pray and model Christianity for unsaved husbands, Muslim women strive to keep their husbands tuned in to Islam.

Muslim women live under the control of male relatives where everything is chosen for them, even their mates. Sharia law, which governs most Islamic countries, further highlights the oppression. According to the law, women are valued as half a man. It takes half as many witnesses to convict her of a crime and twice as many to declare her innocent.

Malala Yousafzai 
shot by Taliban for promoting 
girls' education rights
One example of inequality is represented in their barbaric execution by stoning. Islamic countries refute they still execute in this manner, despite evidence to the contrary. Prior to stoning, a woman is buried upright to her chest while men are buried to their hips. Why does this matter? According to Sharia law, if you can escape your executioners before you die, your sentence is fulfilled. It doesn’t take rocket science to see who has the best chance for escape.

Many of you might be looking to click to the next blog at this point because, in all honesty, you’re wondering, “What’s the purpose of reading about this when I can’t stop it?”

My answer is—you can do plenty to help. First and foremost—pray for the oppressed and persecuted.

When asked what their greatest need is, missionaries say, “Prayer.” The conditions they live under, spiritually, physically, and emotionally, can often be fatiguing, discouraging, and lonely. Even if you can’t help financially, you can cover them in prayer. Ask the Lord to continue to send missionaries to Muslim nations and pray for their protection.

Prayer suggestions from the International Mission Board:
      ·     Pray for Bibles to be made available to Muslims.
      ·     Ask the Holy Spirit to remove the veil of unbelief from the hearts of Muslim women.
      ·     Pray for Muslim women who confess Jesus as Lord to find comfort, strength, and grace during persecution.
      ·     Pray for Muslim women who’ve been saved to have a true Godly influence on their husbands and teach God’s Word to their children and grandchildren.
      ·     Pray for the government leaders and future government leaders of Islamic nations to encounter the One True God. Many of these leaders are educated in the U.S. This is the best opportunity for them to encounter the Christian witness freely.

Participate in social media activism. Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was freed from an Iranian prison last year after being under a death sentence for sharing Christianity. Worldwide activism, much from social media, put intense pressure on Iran’s government to release him. Never before have we had such an opportunity to combine our voices to rescue the persecuted. Iranian-American Pastor Saeed is also imprisoned in Iran. Christians worldwide are raising their voices to free hiim. Information on those persecuted worldwide is available on Voice of the Martyrs website, along with suggestions on how to help. 

Sakineh Ashtiani
Almost two years ago, I wrote about an Iranian woman, Sakineh Ashtiani, who was under imminent threat of stoning in Iran before her children risked their own safety by alerting the international and social media of her plight. World outrage, our government’s included, prevented her execution. Click here to read my blog post about her. First acquitted of murdering her husband and adultery, her judges felt she was guilty, so she sits in one of Iran’s worst prisons until the government decides what to do about her. Likely, they hope the world will eventually be distracted elsewhere so they can carry out her sentence.

When a reporter asked Iranian President Ahmadinejad about Sakineh at the time, he wondered aloud why people concerned themselves about a lowly peasant woman in another country.

Christians must be concerned about oppressed Muslim women and the missionaries who try to reach them, sometimes suffering persecution themselves. We can’t ever be diverted from the reason—because lost souls trump everything else.

In your own life, do you regularly cross paths with Muslims, whether in the work place, college setting, the grocery store, or your children’s school? Seize the opportunity to share Christ through example. For any unbeliever to thirst for the living water that only comes through salvation in Christ, they first have to see it in believers. You will not convert, nor will you replace despair with hope, by preaching. It starts with simple compassion and grows through relationship. I challenge you to ask God to use your own testimony, love, and compassion for your Muslim neighbors to bring them eternal salvation.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

If you have a prayer need, please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. Would you take a moment to pray for those who leave comments and those on the prayer list at the top of the blog? Emily, a teenager with osteosarcoma, is going for her quarterly scans tomorrow. Her family asks for prayer as these follow-up visits are stressful. Please pray for her to continue to be cancer free and side effect free from her treatment, as well. Thanks! J

God bless,

©Laura Hodges Poole

Additional resource:
“Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World” book written by Ginny Dent Brant which details her mission work into Yemen.


  1. laura after obama's reelection i started looking inward and asking God how to change this country. he laid on my heart my responsibility to pray for others in order to bring about the change i so want for this nation and world. i have been praying for the muslim people. i had no ideal that they believe the only way for a woman to get to heaven is through her husband. how very sad. we have and will continue to pray for the muslim people. i am going to pray especially for the muslim women after reading this. last thing - not sure if you have direct tv as a provider for television but they have a wonderful Christian network that is not typical Christian tv. the network is NRB. they have a show 'DARE TO LOVE' on mondays at 6:30. it is a show about reaching out to muslims and being a witness to them.. very informative. gives a lot of tips on how to reach coworker, neighbors, etc that are muslim.

    1. Thanks, Betty. I also felt that way after the election. I will look for the program. It sounds very informative. Thanks for sharing about it. God bless.

  2. I prayed for Emily and her family.

    I'm so glad you posted this- more awareness needs to made.

    It was my understanding that Youcef is back in prison in Iran. I thought I had read that after he was released a short time later he and his lawyer were both arrested for new charges and they haven't been released. I could be confusing him with someone else. I'll have to check.

    I hadn't realized the difference between male and female stoning. astonishing.