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As a university student, Miriam never wore a hijab. One day a Muslim lecturer asked, “Are you Christian?” When Miriam answered, “No sir, I am Muslim”, the professor became very angry and shouted, “Why you don’t wear hijab as a Muslim lady, to protect yourself as the Koran says?” He warned her that she would experience a very tough time at the university if she didn’t wear a hijab.

Miriam was very upset about the interaction and slipped away to a discrete corner and started to cry. Another lecturer approached her, asking why she was crying. Miriam told him what had transpired. He consoled her by saying, “You are free to wear or not to wear the hijab. No one has the right to instruct you to wear it.”

This same lecturer challenged the one who had threatened Miriam, saying that he didn’t have the right to say what he did, and told him very clearly not to cause any future problems for her.

He told Miriam that if she faced similar opposition again, whilst studying at the university, he was available to help. Miriam asked him, “Are you Muslim sir?” he replied, “I was Muslim but now I am an atheist”. Miriam was surprised by his answer, but grateful that he was kind to her and defended her against the other lecturer. Miriam soon decided to become an atheist.

Sometime after completing her university studies, Miriam met a Christian leader and debated with him on the basis of Christianity. She met with him many times, challenging him to prove to her that Christian faith is the ‘right faith’. The Christian leader continued to answer her questions and Miriam began accompanying him to church. This led to her becoming a Christian.

After her conversion, Miriam’s faith was discovered accidentally at home. Her family became very angry with her and began torturing her, trying to force her to return to Islam.

Fearing for her life, Miriam fled to another town.

Miriam’s father eventually discovered where she was living and forced her to come home. He tied her to a bed and began to torture her, aggressively trying to force her to deny her newfound faith.

Miriam managed to escape again. She travelled to Alexandria where she met a person working with a VOM partner ministry that aids and supports Muslim background believers.

The ministry has helped Miriam find accommodation and has encouraged her to participate in trauma counselling. She is now 31 and has been diagnosed with cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Please remember to pray for Miriam, for her physical strength, mental health, and her spiritual growth.

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