Nobel Prize Winner Nadia Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq and author of The Last Girl, My Story and My Fight Against the Islamic State

The Power of Story: Must-Read Books about Religious Persecution

Living Lyrics, Poems from Prison, Pastor John Cao. Living Lyrics is a collection of prison poems written by Pastor John Cao. Cao received a seven-year prison sentence in March 2018 for his Christian faith. Cao, a legal resident of North Carolina, made many trips to his native China for humanitarian work before his detention in March 2017. Those observing Cao’s case believe his imprisonment is part of the ongoing campaign by the Chinese government to suppress the church.

Anti-Christian Violence in India, Chad Bauman. Does religion cause violent conflict, asks Chad M. Bauman, and if so, does it cause conflict more than other social identities? Through an extended history of Christian-Hindu relations, with particular attention to the 2007–2008 riots in Kandhamal, Odisha, Anti-Christian Violence in India examines religious violence and how it pertains to broader aspects of humanity. Is “religious” conflict sui generis, or is it merely one species of intergroup conflict? Why and how might violence become an attractive option for religious actors? What explains the increase in religious violence over the last twenty to thirty years?

Defying Jihad: The Dramatic True Story of a Woman Who Volunteered to Kill Infidels–and Then Faced Death for Becoming One, Esther Ahmad and Craig Borlase. Defying Jihad is the true story of a girl growing up under radical Islamic rule, trained to believe her ultimate purpose was to serve Allah by dying as a jihadist. But two nights before she was to leave forever, she had a dream . . . one that would change the course of her destiny

When Faith is Forbidden, Todd Nettleton. Take a 40-day journey to meet brothers and sisters who share in the sufferings of Christ. When Faith Is Forbidden takes you to meet a Chinese Christian woman who called six months in prison “a wonderful time,” an Iraqi pastor and his wife just eight days after assassins’ bullets ripped into his flesh, and others from our spiritual family who’ve suffered greatly for wearing the name of Christ.

Letters and Papers from Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. One of the great classics of prison literature, Letters and Papers from Prison effectively serves as the last will and testament of the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a young German pastor who was executed by the Nazis in 1945 for his part in the “officers’ plot” to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Acute and subtle, warm and perceptive, yet also profoundly moving, the documents collectively tell a very human story of loss, of courage, and of hope. Bonhoeffer’s story seems as vitally relevant, as politically prophetic, and as theologically significant today, as it did yesterday.

Captive In Iran, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirzadeh. Islamic laws forbid sharing Christian beliefs. Maryam and Marziyeh knew they were risking their lives when they started two house churches and distributed 20,000 New Testaments. In 2009 they were arrested and held 259 days in notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. This is a captivating story about two courageous women willing to die for their faith.

Gloria! The Archbishop’s Wife, Abidemi Sanuse. Gloria Kwashi lives in Jos, Nigeria, in a region that’s known as the Middle Belt. She and her husband, Benjamin Kwashi, the Archbishop of Jos, work in ministry, mediation and peace-building. Gloria’s remarkable story covers a life of challenges including her home burnt down and enduring rape and beatings by men sent to murder her husband. One of the beatings left her blinded, until surgery was able to restore her sight. Amidst the persecution they have adopted some 300 children, most who have suffered unspeakable trauma.

God’s Double Agent, The True Story of a Chinese Christian’s Fight for Freedom, Bob Fu with Nancy French. Bob Fu tells the incredible story of his life, from begging for food, to graduation from college and law school. He attended the Tiananmen Square student uprising as a young college student, protesting the rights of teachers and students. Bob tells what it’s like to live, study, and love in China. He helps us understand sanctioned churches, the house church movement, and what it takes to be openly Christian.

God’s Hostage, A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment and Perseverance, Andrew Brunson and Craig Borlase. Andrew Brunson moved his family to Turkey in 1993 to serve as a missionary. Working with refugees from Syria, including Kurds, they experienced threats and attacks. They were arrested in 2016. Norine was soon released, but Andrew was accused of being a spy and spent two years as a political pawn while in prison. Brunson was released in October 2018.

Saving My Assassin, Virginia Prodan. This is the riveting story of Virginia’s life from an unhappy, abusive childhood to fighting for freedom in court rooms of a dictator to persecution, violence against her and house arrest then to freedom with the help of the Reagan administration.

The 21, A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs, Martin Mosebach. In 2015 ISIS militants beheaded twenty-one orange-clad men on a beach in Libya. All but one were Coptic Christian migrant workers from Egypt. Author Martin Mosebach met their families and he shares about the faith and culture that shaped their convictions.

The Last Girl, My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State, Nadia Murad. Nadia, a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq, was abducted and enslaved by the Islamic State in 2014, when she was twenty-one years old. Her extraordinary memoir is a testament of her strength in the face of unimaginable adversity, a survivor of rape and captivity. Nadia was one of two recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.

The Shadows of Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi and the Persecution of the Rohingya, Poppy McPherson. Award winning journalist Poppy McPherson lives in Myanmar and has been reporting on the persecution of the Rohingya for several years. This true story of villages burnt to the ground, torture and murder led to the UN declaring the situation to be a genocide.

They Say We Are Infidels, On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in The Middle East, Mindy Belz. Journalist Mindy Belz has been reporting for more than a decade on the ground in the Middle East. In this book she tracks the stories of Christians in Iraq and Syria who refuse to abandon their faith-even in the face of losing everything, including their lives.

Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand. Born to a Jewish family in Bucharest, Wurmbrand married in his late 20s and the couple soon converted to Christianity. Ten years later Wurmbrand was arrested for underground ministering. During the next eight years he passed through seven prisons. His wife was also arrested and spent three years in prison. After his release, Wurmbrand was arrested again and sentenced to 25 years. He was granted amnesty after serving five years.