Young Christian Girl Forced to Pray Muslim Prayer, Told to Forget Jesus to Pass Class in Philippines

Children watch as policemen investigate near the body of a woman killed by unknown gunmen at the market in a port area of Manila, Philippines, on October 28, 2016.
Children watch as policemen investigate near the body of a woman killed by unknown gunmen at the market in a port area of Manila, Philippines, on October 28, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

A young Christian schoolgirl in the Philippines recalled how teachers forced her to pray a Muslim prayer in order to pass a class, and ignored her explanations that she now prays to Jesus instead.

Persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA said on Wednesday that the Christian girl, Jen-Jen, had been attending a Vocational Bible School in the southernmost region of the Philippines, where she learned Bible stories and listened to the pastor's teachings on salvation and Christ.

At her regular school, however, she described how authority figures looked down on her faith and forced her to go against it.

"Although she performed well in nearly every subject, for instance, Jen-Jen encountered pressure in Arabic class where the teacher required students to memorize a Muslim prayer in order to pass," Open Doors reported.

"Despite being uncomfortable, Jen-Jen learned the words of the prayer to recite to the teacher. But rather than asking Jen-Jen to say the words in an oral test, the teacher later announced students would be required to go to a mosque and pray the prayer aloud."

The schoolgirl and another Christian classmate told the teacher that they now pray to Jesus instead, and therefore can not pray in a mosque. But the teacher ignored the request and told them to turn away from Christ.

"You must comply or else you will fail in this subject. You should revert to your Islamic faith," the teacher reportedly said.

Jen-Jen was then forced to complete the long walk to the mosque while wearing a traditional Muslim dress and veil covering, despite burning up with a fever.

The schoolgirl got so sick, however, that she lost consciousness and blacked out. Even as she came back to, the teacher refused to excuse her from listening to the entirety of the Muslim imam's message.

"Since the day at the Mosque, Jen-Jen has been pressured to conform to many other Muslim practices, such as fasting during the month of Ramadan. In addition to requirements from the school staff, other students have also teased and bullied Jen-Jen because of her faith, sometimes bombarding her as she walked to and from school and pushing her or insulting her," Open Doors added.

Jen-Jen, who is now in eighth grade, still does not speak ill of her Muslim teachers and classmates, however, and she continues to attend church, with the goal of one day becoming a teacher herself.

"I want to help children like me. I want to show them the love of Jesus that I experienced. Also, I want to help my people read and write so that they will also read the Bible for themselves," the girl said.

While the Philippines is not listed on Open Door's World Watch List of countries where Christians face high persecution, and even though Muslims make up only five percent of the Catholic-majority nation, there are certain areas where Christians themselves are a minority.

The southern regions in the country have recently found themselves plagued by Islamic terror, with Islamic State affiliates occupying the Muslim majority city of Marawi.

The Filipino army has said that it is advancing in its campaign to liberate the city. Reports have emerged of local Muslims risking their own lives to save their Christian neighbors.

Norodin Alonto Lucman, former vice governor of a Muslim self-ruled area within the city, revealed that he hid 71 Christians in his home and led 144 people "through downtown streets held by self-styled ISIL fighters and strewn with rotting corpses."

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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