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Southwestern

Eliza Thomas

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Angry, tortured refugee makes peace with God’s love

BULGARIA (BP) -- Andrew* limped up the stairs to the pulpit of the church. As he turned to face the congregation, I noticed that one of his eyes sagged. The scarring was evidence of the torture he had endured. He greeted the members of the Bulgarian Baptist church in broken English. It was the late 1990s and it had been less than a decade since the Soviet Union had dissolved. Many of the believers sitting shoulder to shoulder in the pews of the church had known the trauma of persecution under the communist regime. Some had been imprisoned. They were acquainted with suffering, so they could relate to Andrew's story in a way that I couldn't.

ANALYSIS: What to know about apostasy laws worldwide

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- When a Sudanese court handed down a death sentence to Meriam Yahya Ibrahim for converting from Islam to Christianity, her case sparked international outcry. The young wife and expecting mother was convicted of apostasy, a crime in Sudan. Although the furor died down after her 2014 release, the law she was found guilty of violating remains on the books today.