The release ceremony took place at the Jame Asri Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan. The three men had to confess to being involved in 'subversive activities' and pledge not to do so again. They also had to promise to fully co-operate with the authorities in any way required in the future, and were made to swear an oath of allegiance to the Sultan of Brunei. Four others members of the church attended by the three were arrested in December 2000 and January 2001, but were released earlier this year.
Andrew (not his real name) converted from Islam to Christianity over a year ago. He was an Islamic holy warrior, a member of the Laskar Jihad, trained to kill, and hardened to violence and bloody executions in the name of Islam. Then one day he was given the task of murdering a Christian minister who had converted from Islam and should therefore die, according to Islamic law. Andrew could not bring himself to do it. He felt haunted by the prayers of his grandmother, a Christian. Eventually Andrew confronted the man he had been sent to kill, and told him his story. The minister talked to him about Jesus, then Andrew prayed and gave his life to Christ. Immediately Andrew went into hiding from his former comrades, and began to be discipled as a Christian. Now he is training to become a church leader.
THE HOLY LAND
Habib (not his real name) grew up hating and despising Jews, Christians and Westerners. As a young man he took part in riots, throwing bottles and stones and fighting with Israeli troops. He was even imprisoned for his violent behaviour. At times he hated his Christian mother, urging his father, a Muslim, to divorce her. He would laugh and cheer at old newsreels of Nazi concentration camps. He rejoiced when he discovered that a man he had partially blinded in a fight had been Jewish. However, Habib's love of Middle Eastern history, and his passion for the current conflict in the Holy Land led him to read the Bible, which he began to compare with the Qur'an. Slowly he came to the conviction that the message of the Bible was true whilst the Qur'an contained much which was false. Finally Habib became a Christian, and has since found his hatred
for the Jews, his life-long enemies, turning into love.