South Korean Hostages Told to Convert to Islam or Die
This week I read a British Broadcasting Network (BBC) article reporting, South Korean Christian aid workers freed last month by Taliban militants, were beaten and ordered at gunpoint to convert to Islam. The former captives told the media of their grueling experiences at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea.
Jae Chang-hee told reporters, “We were beaten with a tree branch or kicked around. Some kidnappers threatened us with death at gunpoint to force us to follow them in chanting their Islamic prayer for conversion. I was beaten many times. They pointed a rifle and bayonet at me and tried to force me to convert.” Jae Chang-hee added, “We lived like slaves. We had to level the ground for motorbikes, and get water and make a fire.”
BBC reported that Yu Jung-hwa said she thought she was going to die. “The most difficult moment, when I had a big fear of death, was when the Taliban shot a video. All 23 of us leaned against a wall and armed Taliban aimed their guns at us, and a pit was before me. They said they will save us if we believe in Islam. I almost fainted at the time and I still cannot look at cameras.”
On July 19, the Taliban kidnapped the 23 South Korean Christian aid workers when they were traveling by bus from Kabul to Kandahar. The group’s leader, Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, and another male hostage were killed. Twenty-one members of the group were released last month following an agreement between South Korea and the Taliban.
Recalling how Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu was led away to his death, the BBC said Han Ji-young, in tears, added, “Bae didn’t even look at us when he was leaving the room. He only said, ‘Overcome with faith.’”
Wow! What a testimony. I found it interesting that local media has not covered this story extensively. I would have thought that it was important to highlight the inhumane way these precious believers were treated. One cannot hear their recollections and not be moved to pray for their well-being and for the Holy Spirit to minister to the families of the two men who were killed.
I rejoice and thank God they were released, and I am equally challenged to continue praying for them. We trust God to help, encourage, and protect them. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God had not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”