Leah Marieann Klett
According to World Watch Monitor, the four teenagers - Eden, 15, Gifti and Mihiret, both 14, and Deborah, 18 - were arrested earlier in October after distributing a Christian book in Amharic, Ethiopia's main language, by a local author, entitled Let's speak the truth in love: Answers to questions by Ahmed Deedat.
The book answers questions about the Christian faith posed by the late South African Islamic scholar and former head of the Islamic Propagation Center International. Christians in Babile, around 550 km east of the capital Addis Ababa, decided to distribute it following cross-cultural evangelism training, according to WWM.
Believing the book insulted Islam, local Muslims responded with outrage, attacking churches and threatening religious leaders. The teenagers were subsequently arrested by local police, and one of the girls, Eden, suffered a beating on her first night in prison.
But according to WWM's source, who was able to visit the girls in prison and speak to Eden and Deborah, their faith is unshaken. "This [suffering] is an honor for us. We should expect persecution. We are not afraid. We are singing and praying here in prison," Eden said. Deborah added, "It is an honor to be jailed for God's Kingdom..."