By Mark Ellis
An Ethiopian woman found Jesus and hid the news from her Muslim husband for six weeks. When her husband discovered the secret she received a beating so severe it landed her in the hospital.
Habiba Ibrahim, a 34-year-old mother of three, received hospital treatment for three days after the assault earlier this month by her husband, Ibrahim Dido, sources told Morning Star News.
She found Jesus on Aug. 2nd after an evangelist spoke with her about putting her faith in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Their conversations were part of an evangelistic movement in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia launched 10 years ago in the Burji language.
After trusting in Christ, Ibrahim stepped away from her practice of the Islamic rituals, she said.
“My husband began questioning me on my laxity in Islamic activities, which I did not respond to,” Habiba told Morning Star News.
A week before the attack, a woman from her church issued a warning to Habiba: “Take care for your life, because the Muslims have discovered that you have converted to Christianity.”
Dido’s anger exploded after morning prayers at a nearby mosque September 10th, when he confirmed the rumors that his wife left Islam. In response, he cornered her after the service and began hitting her with tree branches, according to Morning Star News.
“He locked me in the house and began beating me with sticks and immediately neighbors arrived and rescued me from my husband’s wrath,” Habiba said.
A neighbor who rescued her said her clothes were covered with blood from a deep gash on her forehead.
“Her husband was shouting, saying that she should die for forsaking Islam,” the neighbor said.
Area residents rushed Habiba to a local clinic, where she convalesced for three days. Besides the gash on her head, she had bruises on other parts of her body.
Habiba and her three children, ages 8, 6 and 3, have taken refuge in another village and are in need of medical and financial support.
Ethiopia’s constitution requires the separation of state and religion, establishes freedom of religious choice and practice, prohibits religious discrimination and stipulates the government shall not interfere in the practice of any religion, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2015 International Religious Freedom Report.
Of the population of 99.4 million in Ethiopia, about 20 percent belong to Christian evangelical groups and 40 percent to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), while about 34 percent of the total population is Muslim, according to Operation World.
Ethiopia ranked 18th on Open Doors’ 2016 World Watch List of countries where persecution of Christians is most severe.