The homage of Arab Christians to Brother André


When the death of Brother André, founder of the Open Doors mission at the service of persecuted Christians, was announced, several Christian personalities gathered during the general assembly of the Arab world of the World Evangelical Alliance (AEM) paid homage to him. 

Thursday, September 27, Brother André died at the age of 94. He had dedicated his life to serving thousands of persecuted Christians around the world.

At the height of the Cold War, he had no hesitation in smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, defying the danger. A courageous action that he repeated in many other countries hostile to the Christian faith during his life, which earned him the nickname "God's smuggler".

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Brother André focused his attention on the Muslim world, traveling among other places in the Middle East.

His book Light Force, published in 2004, in particular highlighted his attention to this part of the world. "My goal is to encourage and strengthen local believers to be a light force, an alternative to military might," he wrote in the book.

“When 'God's smuggler' came to the Middle East, he came through the front door. [...] Coupled with his devotion to the Palestinian church, the founder of Open Doors shook up the Western Christian status quo. Arab evangelicals loved him for it,” says journalist Jayson Casper, in an article for Christianity Today titled "The light force of the smuggler of God: Arab Christians mourn Brother André".

Gathered at the General Assembly of the Arab World of the World Evangelical Alliance, several personalities paid tribute to him, recalling the impact he had had in their lives and ministries.

David Rihani, president of the Evangelical Council of Jordan, recalled his father's words. “This man is an example of a true Christian leader,” Jordan's first evangelical pastor told his son.

“He writes books, he shares his knowledge and he cares about everyone without discrimination. »

Bassem Fekry, the president of the Community of Evangelicals in Egypt, underlined to him the important role played by Brother André and the example he was for many.

“We thank God for putting such a great person on our path and for inviting us to imitate him. He is now among the great cloud of witnesses. »

Jack Sara, general coordinator of the Evangelical Alliance for the Middle East and North Africa, for his part evoked the action of the evangelist with persecuted Christians.

“He had a tender heart for those who suffered and were persecuted. He was willing to step into a difficult place and talk with difficult people, but he never compromised the gospel message. »

US Ambassador for Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain, who is Muslim, also honored Brother André's memory on Twitter.

“He advocated tirelessly for religious freedom, which is a source of hope for persecuted Christian communities around the world. I am grateful that his legacy lives on in the work of Open Doors. »

Melanie Boukorras

Image credit: Open Doors

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