History of Bishara
The ‘Markaz-ul-Bishara’ started in Meenangadi, Kerala, as ‘Markaz-ul-Bisharath-lil-Muslimeen’ (Centre for the Good News for Muslims) in 1978 and gradually moved to Manjeri, Kerala. God gave us the Manjeri compound including 88 cents of land purchased from voluntary contributions.
I longed to share my burden to reach out to Muslims with other believers, and unexpectedly I received a package of books specially prepared for Muslims from a mission work called Centre for Young Adults (Markaz-Ul-Shabeeba) in Beirut, Lebanon. I was so glad to receive this literature. Upon reading it, I immediately wrote to the centre and asked for permission to translate, print and distribute the literature among Muslims in the Malabar region, Kerala, South India. It was a great privilege to share my burden with my new missionary friend, who had the same goal and mission. I soon was visited by the missionary’s son so they could get to know me. I promptly received permission to utilize their literature and, with the encouragement of the centre, started the Markaz-ul-Bishara (Good News Centre). In 1980, leaders from the mission visited our centre and started to financially and spiritually support our missionary activities.
God blessed our mission with an enormous number of contacts asking for literature and guidance. For the last 34 years we had about 650,000 (six hundred and fifty thousand) people contact us. We used to get 1,500 to 3,000 letters a day. We had more than 25000 genuine seekers and thousands converts through this outreach. This caused the Muslims to gnash their teeth.
Every post office in Malabar, Kerala, was transacting thousands of mail pieces per month for Markaz-ul-Bishara. The local postman and postmaster were Muslims and were ironically bringing thousands of Christian literature requests to us and delivering thousands of Christian literature pieces to Muslims.
Dangers and Potential Difficulties Associated with Bishara
Over the years, I have prayed for revival of the Bishara complex. A centre once used mightily for the glory of God and for the blessing of many has been more or less unutilized for eight years now. There is much renovation work that needs to be done, but we praise God that renovation has begun. In addition, there is outstanding debt on the complex- about three million rupees.
The difficulties that the Bishara ministry faced, as outlined in the history, were a result of attacks from Muslim fanatics. These sorts of attacks may happen at any time in future.
The State of Kerala contains over 10 million Muslims, the fourth highest state in India by Muslim population percentage. They are some of the most fanatical Muslims in all of India and are eager to be agents of persecution. Unfortunately, they act as if Kerala is an Islamic state where Sharia (Islamic law) is in force. The Sharia declares that the punishment for a Muslim who leaves Islam is execution. Mohammed said, “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him!” (Bukhari Vol 9, Tradition Nr. 97). Such heavy penalties and punishment are not only for the convert but also for his family, friends and his region. I am still facing the consequences of my conversation from Islam.
Today, many intellectual and educated Muslims strongly oppose the traditional Muslim doctrine of apostasy and its punishment. However, civilization cannot eradicate the deep-seated conviction of many pious Muslims who seek to follow the example of Muhammad. This Islamic law remains alive and well in the minds of many Indian Muslims, especially those in the Malabar region.
Laws in India are in place to protect Christians who convert from Islam. But converts are typically “killed” socially and economically. The convert is regarded as worse than dead by his family. They lose their spouse, their children, their job, their home and all contacts within the Muslim community. Every Muslim knows that his life is in danger if he becomes a Christian and this naturally deters many who are convinced of the truth of Gospel to profess faith in Christ. Many secretly believe in Jesus but are fearful of professing Him openly, particularly weak and poor believers who cannot assert their protection under the law.
By the Lord’s Spirit, Bishara serves as a lifesaver and life-giver to those who have died to Islam and have come alive in Christ. This does not happen without risk to the convert, to our mission workers, and to the Bishara complex.
Thank you for your interest in God’s glorifying work through Bishara. May God the father of Our Lord be exalted? Amen.
Yours in His Service,
Rev. K. K. Alavi