Guest / Limited Access /

Back in the 1980s, a doctor in a remote clinic performed an emergency circumcision to treat a young boy's severe urinary tract infection in Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea. Ruslan Karaoglanov was cured from potentially fatal infection that day. But the Karaoglanov family had no inkling that five years later, that circumcision would save Ruslan's life during a bloody pogrom led by Muslim terrorists.

Ruslan, a rising talent in the Christian hip-hop world (known professionally by his first name), retold the story to Christianity Today. It was during the historic period in which the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet empire collapsed. In Azerbaijan, Christians lived in daily fear for their lives as Islamic terrorists sought to purge non-Muslims from the region.

Black January

The worst occurred in the early days of 1990 (today known as "Black January"). Over seven days that month, violence between Azerbaijani Muslims and the Soviet Red Army left an estimated 220 people dead and 1,500 injured in Baku, the capital.

One day, armed men crashed through the door at the home where the Karaoglanov family was living in Baku. They were seeking to find and murder any Armenian males. Ruslan's Armenian father and uncles had already fled to Moscow for safety. But Ruslan, about 5 years old, had stayed with his ethnic Russian mother, Marina, and grandparents.

As three rebels with automatic weapons prepared to kill him, his mother quickly exposed her son's circumcised penis to prove that his was not Armenian. "No! No! No!" Marina shouted in Russian.

"We're not Armenians. Look, my son is circumcised!"

Armenian Christians traditionally do not practice circumcision, while Muslims typically ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Church Is Not a Single-Parent Family
Subscriber Access Only
The Church Is Not a Single-Parent Family
Remembering the spiritual mothers of our faith.
RecommendedIncredible Indian Christianity: A Special Report on the World’s Most Vibrant Christward Movement
Subscriber Access Only Incredible Indian Christianity: A Special Report on the World’s Most Vibrant Christward Movement
Why it’s the best and worst of times for India’s burgeoning churches.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickWhen Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
When Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
If history is any guide, there’s no escaping the hostilities that erupt every December.
Christianity Today
Christian Rapper Saved by Circumcision—Twice
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

May 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.