Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Hajj, a journey to Mecca every Muslim must make at some point in their lifetime. The journey will take place from August 9-13, and if you don’t go, it’s because you’ve already been, are going to go, or you’re not Muslim.
That’s why religious holidays oust many believers who wanted to keep their faith hidden from their families or communities, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
According to Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs, when “the new Christian believer says, ‘Well, I don’t want to be a part of that anymore,’ that immediately raises the question, ‘Well, why not? Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of our religious festival? Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of something that everyone else is a part of?’”
Answering those questions means admitting that “‘I’m not a Muslim anymore, I’m now a follower of Christ,’ [which] can bring down persecution on that new believer,” Nettleton explains.
This isn’t unique to Muslim holidays or Muslim-dominate countries; Nettleton says Hindu celebrations and regional religious festivals can reveal previously-secret faiths, too. The issue is especially pressing right now, however, because of the global Muslim requirement of the Hajj over the next few days.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Alex Anhalt