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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

NEWS ALERT: Religious Clashes Kill 11 In Nigeria; Thousands Displaced

“Sunday morning, [for instance] [sic], around 2 a.m. local time at least two churches were engulfed by flames,” View article…

 

Indian Missionaries Released on Bail

Eleven Gospel for Asia missionaries who were arrested February 17 after being beaten by anti-Christian radicals have been released on bail. The missionaries were arrested as they were wrapping up the second day of a three-day believers convention in the Korba district of Chhattisgarh, India. View article…

Crackdown on Christians in Myanmar

At least 100 churches have been recently order to cease holding services in Burma. At least 50 pastors have been forced to sign documents saying they would not hold services on threat of imprisonment. View article…

China Releases Four House Church Leaders

The four underground church leaders detained earlier this week along with over 60 others attending an evangelical seminar have been released. Though the others had been released earlier, China Aid attributes the release of these four to international media attention, worldwide prayer, and other international pressure. View article…

Iraq’s ‘Safe Haven’ a Refuge from Torture

“The guards were yelling and shouting, asking me to renounce my faith in Jesus Christ. I said no. They said I had committed a crime by leaving Islam. I told them I would not go back. They kept hitting me,” View article…

Pastor arrested in Madhya Pradesh

Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose, Founder of Pine Mount English Medium School organized a three days prayer meeting in the School Compound, Sanjay Nagar Colong, Anupur, Madhya Pradesh starting from 16th to 18th Jan 2009.

Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose is pastoring Pentecostal Church of God, invited few guest speakers for the prayer meeting. During the meeting without their knowledge two persons were selling books near the School compound. Some RSS/Bajrang Dal activists purchased few copies of a book from there and took it to Chachai Police Station and lodged a complaint against Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose. Immediately the policemen came to Rev. Venkata’s house and asked him to come to the police station for an enquiry.
The next day on 19th Monday morning Rev. Venkata Rao had gone to the police station and gave a statement of the incident.

After proper investigation, the police arrested the persons who were involved in the selling of books. One of them has been bailed and other did not get bail and was shifted to Shadol Court.

On 25th Feb 2009 around 8.30 am Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose was arrested and was taken to Chachai police station for the same case. He was arrested in spite of the persons who were arrested confessed for selling the books. Later Rev. Venkata Rao was taken to Anupur Court. The Court refused to give bail because other person who was accused was in Shadol and they directed him to Shadol court. At present Rev. Venkata Rao is in Chachai police station.

Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose is ministering to 150 members in Sanjay Nagar Colony from 1992.

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Iran persecutes religious minorities

Iran (MNN) ― Iran is fighting off accusations of persecuting the small sect of the Baha’i. The government arrested seven leaders of the Baha’i community nine months ago. 

The group went to prison, and access to legal counsel was denied. In a pattern true to form, the Iranian government has since charged them with espionage.

At the same time, according to Compass Direct, the case is still open against two converts from Islam: Jamal Galishorani and his wife, Nadereh Jamali.

Although they were arrested January 21, they have been released on bail, but there’s been no word on formal charges. 

That’s not necessarily a good thing. Iranian Christians and rights agencies have feared that they could be charged with “apostasy,” or leaving Islam — potentially punishable by execution in the Shia Islamic republic….

For the rest of the article, please visit   Web site

Muslim youth vandalize Christian bookstore twice within five days

Turkey (MNN) ― Voice of the Martyrs Canada says that a Christian bookstore in Turkey was vandalized twice within recent weeks, according to a report from Compass Direct News.

On February 7, glass in the front door of the Soz Kitapevi bookshop was smashed and the security camera mangled. Damages were repaired, and security cameras captured two Muslim youth as they kicked and shattered glass in the storefront’s window and door five days later. The unidentified youths also damaged the door frame. Using the security footage, police are attempting to identify culprits.

Muslim neighbors are generally accepting of the bookstore, although employees have faced threats in the past. Last November, a man reportedly walked into the shop and began accusing the shop of working with the CIA to harm Muslims.

“You work with them, killing people in Muslim countries, harming Muslim countries,” said the man. Pray that attacks against the bookstore would stop.

Evangelism isn’t specifically forbidden in Turkey, but authorities view it with high suspicion. Police arrest those who evangelize with charges of disturbing the peace, “insulting Islam,” or conducting illegal educational courses. Worship services are only permitted in buildings “created for this purpose,” and building construction by minority religions has been resisted by officials. Those who are bold enough to declare their faith face harassment, threats, and imprisonment.

VOM Canada supports Turkish believers with encouraging radio broadcasts and provides assistance for Christian workers who share the Gospel with their neighbors.

Ask God to protect believers in Turkey. Pray, also, that these acts of vandalism will not develop into more serious attacks. To learn more about persecution in Turkey, visit VOM Canada’s Web site by clicking here

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1. Christian accused of blasphemy in Pakistan

A Pakistani Christian, Hector Aleem (51), is under fire after being accused of sending a blasphemous text message, according to a February 5 report from Compass Direct. On January 22, police arrested Aleem for blasphemy and abetting a crime after a religious scholar allegedly received a text message from him in November that insulted Muhammad. Although he was acquitted of the blasphemy charges at a hearing on February 2, he was not cleared of abetting. Local Christians believe the judge’s decision was influenced by the approximately 150 people protesting and yelling threats outside the courthouse. Sources claim that Aleem was targeted because he directs an organization that lobbies for the rights of Christians in Islamabad.

At last report, Aleem was detained at the Adiyala Jail in the city of Rawalpindi, where he has been denied adequate food, medicine for his heart condition and visits with his family. His family has gone into hiding due to threats from Muslim militants.

Pray that Aleem will be acquitted of all charges. Pray for protection for him and his family. Pray that Muslims in Pakistan will come to know Christ’s love through the lives of Christians (Romans 12:14, 21).

Find out more about suffering Christians in Pakistan at www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.
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2. Bible student beaten and threatened by Muslims in Bangladesh

Rajen Murmo (20) was attacked by a mob of approximately 50 Muslims in the town of Uttara, Bangladesh, where approximately four million Muslims had gathered for an annual Islamic conference on February 1. According to a February 5 report from Compass Direct, Murmo and some fellow students from Believers’ Church Bible College were distributing Christian literature when a man approached them and said that the Quran had superseded the Bible, rendering it outdated. Some men then grabbed Murmo and demanded to know who gave him the Christian literature. They also demanded that he give them the addresses of religious leaders and of his school. When he refused, the attackers beat him and threatened to kill him unless he gave them the information. Officials eventually arrived and were able to rescue Murmo. The mob pressured the officials into sending Murmo to a local police station where he was held until the principal of his school secured his release.

Pray for healing for Murmo. Ask God to strengthen him to remain steadfast in the midst of opposition (1 Peter 5:12).

For more information on the persecution facing Christians in Bangladesh, go to www.persecution.net/bangladesh.htm.
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3. Christians threatened and mistreated in Kandhamal, India

Despite government assurances of stability in Kandhamal district, Orissa state, the tension remains high for Christians returning from the relief camps to what remains of their homes, churches and livelihoods. According to a February 6 report from AsiaNews, approximately 17 people visited the village of Jhimangia in Kandhamal on February 2 to survey the damage before moving back. However, when they arrived, they were surrounded by Hindu villagers who warned them that they could not return unless they converted to Hinduism. Other Christians who have moved back to the district are reportedly facing harassment and discrimination. Elsewhere in the district, a foundation for a Hindu temple has been laid on the site of a church that was burned to the ground in August.

Pray for boldness for Christians returning to their homes in Kandhamal district. Pray that the believers will be a light that draws their Hindu neighbours to Christ (Matthew 5:14-16).

Learn more about the persecution of Indian Christians at www.persecution.net/india.htm.
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4. Religion Law amendments proposed in Armenia

On February 5, proposed amendments to Armenia’s Religion Law and Criminal Code began passage through the nation’s parliament, according to a February 9 report from Forum 18. Under the amendments, leaders of religious communities involved in evangelism could face up to two years in prison. Those caught evangelizing could be imprisoned for up to one year or fined 500 times the minimum monthly wage. The amendments propose a five-fold increase in the number of members required to register as a religious organization.

Pray that these amendments will not be approved. Ask God to work in the lives of Armenia’s leaders so that they too will turn to Him.
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5. Update: Christians released in Iran

Iranian Christians who were arrested in Tehran on January 21 (see www.persecution.net/ir-2009-01-28.htm) have been released from detention, according to a February 9 report from Compass Direct. Jamal Ghalishorani and his wife, Nadereh Jamali, were recently released on bail. Local Christians are fearful that the couple will be charged with apostasy, which could potentially carry the punishment of execution. Another believer who was arrested along with the couple, Hamik Khachikian, was released without charges after a week in detention.
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6. Update: Shuang Shuying released from prison in China

Shuang Shuying (79), who was sentenced in February 2007 to two years in prison on charges of “willfully damaging private property” (see www.persecution.net/cn-2007-02-28.htm), was released from detention on February 8. According to ChinaAid, Shuying suffered poor health and was tortured while in detention. Upon her release, Shuying went to be with her dying 91-year-old husband, who passed away the next day without regaining consciousness.
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7. Update: Prominent Christian lawyer seized by officials in China

Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer who has come under fire in recent years for his work defending underground Christians (see www.persecution.net/cn-2007-01-03c.htm for more details), was forcibly taken from his hometown in Shaanxi province on February 4. According to ChinaAid, his current whereabouts are unknown and there is serious concern for his safety. On February 9, a letter written by Zhisheng detailing the brutal treatment he endured while detained for over 50 days in 2007 was released to the international community. To read this letter, go to www.tinyurl.com/gao-letter.

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Mongol, Khalka of Mongolia

 

MongolianPeople Name: Mongol, Khalka
Country Name: Mongolia
Population: 1,778,000
Primary Language: Mongolian, Halh
Primary Religion: Buddhism
% Evangelical: 0.41
Status: Unreached

 

Bahs in Iran

Since 1979, Iranian authorities have killed more than 200 Bah᧩ leaders, and thousands have been arrested. By May of this year they have arrested seven more.

The Bah faith began in Persia (present day Iran). Their founder, Bah‘llᨬ was a Persian nobleman. In the 1800s he began a faith, where according to a Bah web site (bahai.org) “there is only one God, there is only one human race, and all the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will….” Bah‘llᨠclaimed to be the latest in a line of people God has used to reveal his will to humankind-a line that includes the likes of Moses, Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad.

It is this latter claim that brings the Bah community into conflict with all Muslim states, since Islam teaches that Mohammad was the ultimate prophet of God. So in the land of its birth, present followers experience unrelenting persecution and opposition.

History shows that groups generally unify in the face of opposition. Such is the case for Bahs. A Bah spokesman says, “time and again, Bahs have been offered their freedom [from Iranian prisons] if they recant their Bah beliefs and convert to Islam, an option few have taken.”

Pray that Christ would reveal his uniqueness to these courageous people. Pray that believers in Iran will bridge the divide and show the love of Christ to their Bah countrymen.-EF

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persians-wedding_iranShi’ite Muslim Persians of Iran

In 1979, Westerners were primarily concerned about communist revolutions, but Iran showed the world how oppression would look after communism fell. The Western-leaning Shah of Iran and his supporters were driven into exile by Iran’s new leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran was declared an Islamic republic. In an Islamic republic, all non-Islamic influences must be shut down. After Ayatollah Khomeini came into power, most educated Iranians fled the country, and the remaining population had to adjust to revolutionary changes. Women were forced to wear their hijabs (head scarves), boys and girls were no longer allowed to play together and any kind of Western “non-Islamic” activities were punished.

In today’s Iran, these policies are creating a backlash among the youth. These young people have lost hope for Iran’s future. According to the Christian Science Monitor, many Persian youths are giving up on politics because they feel it is useless to support candidates promoted by inept Islamic clerics. One young man received 75 lashes for drinking alcohol. Rappers and singers have been imprisoned for their form of expression. Human rights groups are exposing the excesses and encouraging diplomatic pressure on the Iranian government, which in turn is becoming increasingly hostile to these groups.

 

Pray for Persian youth to put their hope in Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to do a new work in Iran’s clerics.-KW

Iu Mien, Yao of China yao-women

People Name: Iu Mien, Yao
Country Name: China
Population: 1,193,000
Primary Language: Iu Mien
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
% Evangelical: 0.15
Status: Unreached

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Maranao, Lanao of Philippines maranao-philippines

People Name: Maranao, Lanao
Country Name: Philippines
Population: 1,139,000
Primary Language: Maranao
Primary Religion: Islam
% Evangelical: 0.01
Status: Unreached

 

Hazara People in Iran and Afghanistan

Hazaras have no place to go! Everywhere they turn they are outcasts. Their facial features identify them as descendants of the Mongol conquerors of centuries past. Their homeland in the center of Afghanistan has seen decades of war. As Shi’ite Muslims in a Sunni country, they take an additional blow of persecution as infidels. As a result, thousands have fled to Iran, a Shi’ite country.

hazarasBut even in Iran they receive no sanctuary. Easily identified by their Mongol appearance, they again face rejection. After 20 years or more living in Iran, that government seeks to repatriate them. But those who return to Afghanistan report few jobs and scarce food. So Iran’s refugees seek to stay put.

In February, National Geographic documented some improvement in their homeland situation. Some have received education. Those who resettle in Kabul, Afghanistan have started businesses. So the Hazaras hope for improvement. Still they labor at strenuous jobs. And they hope.

In their home state of Barmian, outside agencies recently built a bridge over a river that divided the region. This eased tensions with neighboring Tajiks and improved prospects of bringing produce to market.

But the Hazaras in Iran remain in limbo, unwanted where they live and unwelcome in their ancient home. Uncertainty often opens hearts to good news.

Pray that Christian service agencies can build a bridge to the hearts and minds of Hazara leaders. Pray that Christ will reveal Himself to this people group while they are in a state of flux.-EF

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turkish-flag_svgAlevi Muslims in Turkey

Musicians sang praise songs with electric guitars at the Islamic gathering consisting of dozens of people in Turkey. They sang a type of music most Turkish Sunni Muslims considered scandalous because it sounded like Western-style rock and roll. But the worshippers weren’t Westerners, they were Turkish Alevi Muslims. The Alevis are a powerful minority in the central mountain provinces of Turkey and neighboring Syria.

Most Muslims consider the Alevi to be heretics. They don’t face toward Mecca when they pray, or fast during Ramadan or make pilgrimages to Mecca. Their concept of alms giving is also different. The Alevis are about as related to mainstream Islam as Mormons are related to Evangelical Christianity. But like mainstream Muslims, the Alevis consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet and not the Son of God who can save them.

Ask God to open the hearts of the Alevis to the message of salvation. Pray that God would raise up faithful workers to reach out to this Turkish religious minority. Pray that God would even use dreams and visions to show this people group that He is the only true path to salvation. May Alevis one day praise Jesus Christ as the One they trust and follow.-WK  (Global Prayer Digest)

 

Gypsy, Domari of Iran gypsy-domari

People Name: Gypsy, Domari
Country Name: Iran
Population: 1,456,000
Primary Language: Domari
Primary Religion: Islam
% Evangelical: 0.00
Status: Unreached

(Joshua Project)

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