(Morning Star News) – A woman in Ethiopia had been a Christian for six weeks when her husband found out and beat her for leaving Islam, sources said.
Habiba Ibrahim, a 34-year-old mother of three in Bokulu Boma, Ethiopia, received hospital treatment for three days after the assault earlier this month by her husband, Ibrahim Dido, the sources said. She had put her faith in Christ on Aug. 2 in Bokulu Boma, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Moyale on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya.
Dido’s anger flared after Sept. 10 morning prayers at a nearby mosque, where he had confirmed rumors that his wife had left Islam, and he began striking her with tree branches, Ibrahim told 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,” she said.
A neighbor who helped rescue her said Ibrahim’s clothes were covered with blood from a deep cut on her forehead.
“Her husband was shouting, saying that she should die for forsaking Islam,” the neighbor said.
Area residents rushed Ibrahim to a clinic in Bokulu Boma, and she was discharged after three days. Besides the gash on her head, she had bruises on her left hand and elbow.
Ibrahim had placed her faith in Christ after an evangelist spoke with her about saving faith in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Their conversations were part of an evangelistic movement in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, begun 10 years ago, in the Burji language spoken by people living on both sides of the Moyale area.
After trusting in Christ, Ibrahim began stepping back from Islamic ritual, she said.
“My husband began questioning me on my laxity in Islamic activities, which I did not respond to,” Ibrahim said.
A week before the attack, a woman from the church with which Ibrahim had connected visited her, saying, “Take care for your life, because the Muslims have discovered that you have converted to Christianity,” a source said.
Ibrahim and her three children, ages 8, 6 and 3, have taken refuge in another village and need 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.