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After the age of 10, every child in Turkey must attend Islamic education classes. However, Beren’s family are Christian and so they were able to obtain permission for an exemption. During religion classes Beren was permitted to sit in another room and do other schoolwork. Beren would also not need to attend the religious exams.

This seemed like a good solution, until her Muslim school friends came to realise why she was not attending the classes. She was a Christian! At first, some of her friends alienated her; they no longer wanted to be associated with ‘such’ a person. However, it didn’t stop there. Some decided that this situation needed to change. One day they physically assaulted her, grabbed her around the throat and shouted, “You need to be a Muslim!”

Beren was terrified. She became physically and emotionally ill and did not want to go to school any more. Her family tried to resolve the situation, meeting with the teachers and students. They were able to persuade the students to apologise to Beren, leading her to become more comfortable with attending school again. However, this event has taken its toll. Beren is now afraid of openly telling her friends that she is a Christian. Beren is still a faithful believer but has decided to attend the religious education classes to avoid being such an easy target in the future.

There are so few Christians in Turkey that many young people find they are the only believers at their school. Pray that the young people of this land who face bullying will receive comfort and encouragement from God, and that He would provide Christian friends.

Voice of the Martyrs is supporting a youth ministry in Turkey to help and encourage Christian teenagers. The ministry runs Christian camps and events, and publishes high quality discipleship training material which helps their Christian growth and knowledge.

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