Remembering a doctor who left Islam and was martyred for the faith — along with his family


By Mark Ellis

Son and daughter of doctor, martyred for their faith
Son and daughter of doctor, martyred for their faith

Dr. Mithlai* was brought up in a fanatic Muslim family in the northern province of a Central Asian country. When he was 42 years old, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior while doing research for his doctorate.

After his conversion from Islam, Dr. Mithlai married a Christian woman and they had four children. His conversion created death threats within his family, so they escaped to another city, where they boldly proclaimed the Gospel.


Many Muslims came to Christ in this area, but the family was attacked, and their seven-year-old son was killed. So they left there for another city and continued their ministry.

Dr. Mithlai helped start At Anycost Jesus Mission in early 2000, which was instrumental in establishing support for underground evangelism in Muslim areas and remains a strong voice for Jesus. He helped train 78 underground missionaries serving in different countries.

His boldness for Christ eventually caught the attention of  local Muslim militants who told the doctor and his family to stop preaching and demanded they convert back to Islam. Despite threats of violence, he continued preaching and reaching out to the lost. He and his family refused to give in to the militants’ demands and continued to proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior and said, “we will stand with Him until the last breath of our lives.”

Dr. Mithlai endured several beatings because of his refusal to stop preaching. The pressure against him increased and the brutality worsened. At one point, his 15 year-old son was kidnapped by 15 to 20 people who circumcised him in a barbaric manner. As a result, the young man developed an infection, but eventually recovered.

The militants continued to threaten Dr. Mithlai and his family. They told him that what happened to his son was a warning and worse would follow if the family kept evangelizing.

Dr. Mithlai approached the police but they refused to listen, threatening to charge him instead.

Through these trials, his family continued to gather with other believers in their home, which enraged the militants. In September 2006, they attacked the house church. They beat many who were present and then kidnapped the doctor and his family.

Local police refused to respond to the kidnapping, which raised allegations about police support for the militants.

After the kidnapping, they killed the doctor’s 15-year-old son and forced Dr. Mithlai and his wife to watch as they raped both daughters. They also cut off one breast of their 14-year-old daughter after she rebuked the militants. Then she was killed.

The militants left the two older children’s bodies in a ditch along with a motorbike, doused the bodies with gasoline, and lit them on fire.

Doctor's martyred children
Doctor’s martyred children

The police prepared a report describing the incident as an accident. The report stated the gas tank of the bike was open when the it careened into the ditch, and the young people’s bodies were ignited by a spark.

A few days later, Dr. Mithlai’s body was found in a river. A week later his wife’s body was also recovered. His other two daughters have been missing since the incident.

Despite the persecution, the underground church they established and supported still gathers for worship and still ministers among nonbelievers. Those remaining request your prayers.


  1. My deepest respect for this family. The cruelest thing to do to the daughters. My prayer for the other two daughters. Why is God silent? Where are the angels to protect? Unbelievable!! I am amshamed of being a Christian and living freely. Because of this I promise to pray for the converted moslems. They do sacrifice and be bold. What about us, living in a comfort zone. Finding it difficult even to share the gospel. God, where were You when these 2 girls were raped? Can anybody explain to me about this? Praying for the two other daughters. Thanks for sharing. Adele

    • Adele, suffering inflicted on Christians can often make people wonder why God would allow such things. However we must remember that it was not God who committed the crime but the extremists. In fact, the bible often mentions that good Christians will suffer for Christ’s sake (it is even prophesied) , but we should remember that those who suffer in life will be blessed in heaven.
      Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
      Romans 8:35-36 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
      The book of Job is about a righteous man who suffers, and can not understand why, and he questions God as a result. However, on the edge of losing his faith, he encounters God, and he realizes that although he can never fully understand God or his ways, no matter how much suffering the faithful face God does know what he is doing, and will someday reward those who suffer, in the same way that he rewards Job at the end of the book.
      God never promised that he would protect us from suffering, but he did promise that his best followers would suffer in the name of Christ. While this can be hard to accept, know that the victims of this violence are in heaven, where their rewards are a thousand times greater than we can even possibly imagine.
      I know that it can be difficult to understand why the righteous suffer, but in the end we must simply trust that the LORD knows what he is doing, and whenever we are hurt by our own suffering or the suffering of others we should always remember that God himself understands our suffering and has suffered with us when he was persecuted and died upon the cross for our sins.

      John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

      Yours in Christ,

      • Thank you Josiah! Your explanation was excellent! Through this family’s ministry, many have come and will come to the Lord! The blood of the martyrs is definitely the seed of the church (God’s Called-out ones). The church in this nation is ever determined by faith to continue to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel! Let’s continue to pray for God’s people in the Muslim world!

  2. Terribly sad tragic disgusting how evil we as humans can be. Adele there are no easy answers to any of your questions. The most we can say is that We know our God says I will never leave you nor forsake you. He was right there with each of these brave Jesus followers and was there to welcome them into His kingdom that has no end. Hope that brings some comfort to your heart but also causes us to see how blessed we are and take the opportunities that we have. Our hearts are broken my God and I know Yours is too.

    • I understand your feelings Adele, and I can’t imagine the anguish those parents endured, watching their children being tortured and killed, by these heartless people.

      Persecution of the Christian’s faith is becoming a Global occurrence; and it’s just a matter of time, before it hits home. We did not come here to stay, we belong to another Country, which is far better than one can ever imagine! Let us therefore prepare our hearts, and try to win as many as we can to inherit that Blessed Country. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But Rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when His Glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12) (2 Cor 4:8-10) “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. Always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus; that the life also of Jesus, might be made manifest in our bodies.”

      My sister, we have to feast on The Word, and know the Promises of our Father. This Christian walk is not easy, but we have to have a made up mind, to be Faithful to the end. God Bless you.

  3. Adele…. the one thing you have to remember is, God knows when things happen, and He is in control of every situation. Sometimes, He appears to be silent, as you say, but He isn’t. He’s planning something big. If you could recollect, when the Israelites were getting killed by the new Pharaoh and the Egyptians, their numbers kept increasing. This multitude of people went on to form the holy nation of Israel. Inasmuch as the deaths of this family is very painful, don’t neglect the fact that the “underground “.church in that country will keep growing. They have played their parts on this earth, and by His grace, are now in heaven…..

    Everything happens for a purpose. God could have chosen to save them, and since He didn’t, we can’t blame Him. I mean, more lives have been saved since their deaths. Once again, these brave soldiers have played their parts and we should too….. May God keep His church. Amen!!!!!

  4. Adele … sorry for my poor English, I am from Austria. I can understand your feelings and disappointment. You ask: Why is God silent? May I pose another question: why did God do nothing to rescue His only son, Jesus, more dear than anything else to Him? God bless you!

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