A secret Christian believer in Southeast Asia from a Muslim background claims that those like him are pretending to fast during Ramadan in order to avoid suspicion and persecution.
Open Doors, a non-profit organization that works for persecuted Christians worldwide, spoke with a Christian convert to talk about Ramadan before and after his conversion.
Ramadan is when Muslim adults are expected to fast during daylight hours. The unnamed source claims he has participated in the fasting since he was 12 years old and only pretends to do so now that he has already converted.
"To do otherwise would result in suspicions and questionings," he told the organization.
He added, "Many secret believers like me dare not reveal our faith because if we are caught we will be sent to Islamic rehabilitation centres."
He's terrified of the stories he's heard about Christian converts who were brainwashed, tortured, and abused mentally until they are forced to renounce Christ. He said it is renouncing Jesus that terrifies him as he beseeched for prayers for him and other secret believers to be strengthened not to deny Jesus.
"It is only when I'm alone or with other secret believers that I can be myself. It is not easy to live such a double life," he added.
The source also shared that his reason for fasting has obviously changed after knowing Christ.
He talked about "pahala" or spiritual merits that become the aim of Muslims in order to be accepted in paradise. They would have to earn as many spiritual merits as they can to outweigh their sins. This explains why Muslims have to pray five times a day, give alms to the poor, and even convert Christians to Islam.
However, he said no matter what he did, he still worried whether he's done enough for Allah to accept him.
"But praise God I am now a Christian, and I have Christ's assurance that my sins are washed away by his blood," he said. "I don't have this nagging fear anymore. Now I fast to deepen my relationship with God and to know Christ more."