PHILIPPINES – Church torched and Christians held hostage as Islamists rampage through city in Mindanao

Islamist militants have burnt a church and taken Christians hostage in Marawi, a city on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Around 100 armed men launched an assault on Marawi on Tuesday (23 May), prompting thousands of residents to flee and leading the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to impose martial law across the whole of Mindanao. A local Christian leader said that the Islamists seized a pastor, ten worshippers and three church workers, and are threatening to kill them unless the government withdraws its security forces. There are also reports that a policemen has been beheaded by Islamists.

Please pray for the safe return of Pastor Teresito ‘Chito’ Suganob and the 13 other Christians kidnapped from his church.
Armed men raided St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday and abducted the 14 Christians. As well as setting light to the cathedral, they also burned down three buildings of the church-owned Dansalan College.
The Filipino army engaged in firefights with militants whom the Government has since identified as members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute Group: two soldiers and a police chief were killed. President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law in Mindanao, an island with a significant Muslim population.

  • Pray for our Christian family in the Philippines, especially in the south of the country where several Islamist terrorist groups have been active.
  • Pray especially for wisdom for church leaders in the southern Philippines: several pastors have been held hostage by terrorists.
  • Pray that God will thwart the plans of the men of violence, including the Maute Group, considered one of the newest but most feared terror groups in the country.

(Sources: BBC, Morning Star News)

The government of the Philippines has been engaged in a decades-long conflict with Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines, which has a significant Muslim population. The previous government agreed a peace deal with some Islamist armed groups in 2014 and also proposed creating an autonomous region in Bangsamoro – an area which includes the city of Marawi – with its own laws, which would have allowed for the implementation of sharia. Public opposition to the deal has resulted in the legislation to enact it being delayed, and some Islamists have continued their violent campaign.

From Aljazeera here

Christians in Kenya fear imminent attack – please pray

Please pray for our Christian family in north-east Kenya who fear an imminent attack after a renewed outbreak of violence against non-Muslims in the region.
Al-Shabaab militants appear to have stepped up their campaign of violence in areas bordering Somalia – and Christians in the city of Mandera believe they could be the next target.
‘The Christians living in Mandera are living in great fear of an imminent attack,’ one church leader said. ‘We have to think whether to continue with the Christian mission work or to leave the place. We cannot pretend that all is well.’
Please pray that our Christian family in Mandera and across Kenya will stand firm in their faith.
Al-Shabaab militants are suspected of involvement in a gun attack on quarry workers in El Wak, 105 miles from Mandera, on May 12. Two people died, including a Christian named Dalama Otieno. It’s believed the group were targeted because they were non-Muslims.
Three days later, government official Dekow Abbey Sirat was shot dead at his home in Mandera County. Al-Shabaab said it carried out the attack.
The same group killed six Christians in a grenade and gun attack on a residential compound in Mandera last October. Previously, in late-2014, it had killed 38 non-Muslims at a quarry in nearby Kormey and shot dead 19 Christians after hijacking a bus near Mandera.

  • Ask God to protect and strengthen His people in Mandera: pray that they will look to Him, their ‘refuge and fortress’ (Psalm 91:2)
  • Pray security forces will be adequately deployed
  • Pray that God’s people in Kenya will stand firm in their faith. Pray that attacks will only strengthen their resolve to build God’s kingdom in their nation and that their hearts will not grow cold (Matthew 24:12).
  • Pray for Al-Shabaab militants, that their plans will be thwarted and that they will renounce violence.

Myanmar update

Rev. J Laning and Margaret, Elder John VanBaren and Val spent about two weeks (May 2-16) in Myanmar with Rev. Titus Certi, their church, and a group totalling 41 men including 31 from “up country” for a Reformation conference. This is II Timothy 2:2 in action. The wives and girls served humbly in the background. I hope to add recent pics of the church and the men involved. Meantime the full account should soon be available at:

Official PRCA site

Conferees

Rev. Titus and family. He is very busy not only leading his church but also translating KJV into Burmese along with other Reformed books and lessons.

 

Pray for the Spread of the Gospel to North Korea Through Radio Broadcasts

May. 19, 2017 | Korea, North

Pray for a Church Planter Receiving Death Threats

May. 19, 2017 | Colombia

Xavier serves at great personal risk in paramilitary country.

Xavier serves at great personal risk in paramilitary country.

 

Azerbaijan

 

Pray for Guzal, a former Muslim whose husband Asad apparently came to profess faith but when persecution came from relatives he hardened his heart and now forbids her going to church, meeting believers or reading her Bible. Pray for him and the meeting of her spiritual needs.

More about the country

MERF Newsletter

MERF - Caring for Threatened Converts			B
MERF - Caring for Threatened Converts			B

Also downloadable and past issues at : http://www.powerofchristatwork.net


Faithful, Fruitful and Cost-effective Indigenous Missions in Action!

More Praise & Prayer:

  • Praise God for the first 2017 graduation of South Sudanese and other East African students from MERF’s 3 months intensive Bible course in Lokichoggio, Kenya. Pray for 23 students from 7 different tribes beginning the second course.
  • Please remember to pray for Nelly, a key Arabic media ministry staff member reaching Muslim women, she is experiencing a recurrence of debilitating MS symptoms.
  • Please pray for comfort in Christ to the many families suffering hunger, danger, and loss in the fighting in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Feel free to share with other Christians.

Machhi, India

 Yet another unreached people.
Machhi (Hindu traditions) in India

The traditional occupation of the Machhi is fishing, which continues to be their primary source of livelihood. Child marriage is prevalent among the Machhi. Property is usually shared by the sons but a widow receives a 12% share of her husband’s property. Their attitude towards formal education of both boys and girls is favorable.

Ministry Obstacles
The polytheistic worldview of the Hindu Macchi makes it difficult to accept a creator God who stands outside his creation, who created the universe at a point in time.

Outreach Ideas
Christians need to present the person of Jesus Christ to the Macchi community. Gospel recordings would be very helpful.

Pray for the followers of Christ
There may be no one among the Hindu Macchi community today who knows and follows Christ. However, pray for those that the Lord will soon call to himself. Pray they will be faithful to fellowship together, and will be zealous to know and follow Christ. Pray they will live holy lives.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray for the Machhi community to be able to properly support their families, having adequate incomes. Pray they will be able to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions of the 21st century.

Scripture Focus
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” Isaiah 52:7

Never forget North Korea

The Worst:North Korea

North Korea’s hatred of Christianity has
condemned hundreds of thousands of
Christians to death over the decades and it is
estimated that they currently have 30,000 to
70,000 Christians imprisoned in the dreaded
penal camps. Christians not in the camps are
extremely wary and hiding in the shadows.
DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea – North Korea) is the world’s worst
human rights violator and the most violent
persecutor of Christians.
The Kim family’s communist government
is the source of all persecution. The Kims
have deified themselves and will allow no
other god in the land. They are often called
madmen as a result but that doesn’t really capture
them. Their creation, the North Korean
state, was designed above all else to feed and
protect themselves. They have knowingly set
themselves up as gods not because they are
mad, but because this system of idolatry furthers
their interests, control, and safety. Their
demonic creation reveals them not to be crazy,
but rather to be extreme narcissists.
Each successive Kim demands complete
loyalty to himself. Putting anything or anyone
else above the state is considered treason.
Since Christianity elevates God over
the State, North Korea sees Christianity as a
dangerous movement that must be silenced.
North Korea persecutes Christians using three
primary tools: songbun system, civil and
political police, and gulags.
Songbun is a three-tier (first – core; second
– wavering; third – hostile) societal classification
system that rewards/punishes citizens
based on their ancestral and personal loyalty
to the State. Disloyalty in either category
eliminates the opportunity to achieve the
highest songbun, core.
Those in the hostile class only make $3-$5
per month. Sadly, all Christians are classified
as ‘hostile.’
The State devotes massive resources on
the monitoring of its citizens through civil
and political policing. Witnesses confess that
the State “was always watching what we
were saying [and] doing.”
The final tool of the North Korean security
apparatus is the gulags, or labor camps loosely
based on Stalin’s prison system. Gulags exact
severe and effective punishments that hinder
movements considered “anti-state,” like
Christianity. While the government denies the
existence of these prisons, satellite images and
former prisoners’ testimonies affirm the camps’
continued use as well as the guards’ inhumane
treatment of prisoners.
Massive workloads, starvation, extreme isolation,
satanic torture, and the casual murder
of prisoners define North Korean gulags. One
former child prisoner described how prisoners
were forced to stone each other to death in a
camp. Another prisoner reported seeing the
execution of whole families in gas chambers.
“ ‘I witnessed a whole family being tested
on suffocating gas and dying in the gas
chamber,’ he said. ‘The parents, son and a
daughter. The parents were vomiting and
dying, but till the very last moment they
tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth
breathing.’ ” (BBC: Access to Evil).
Cracks are appearing in North Korea’s
stony façade as high level defectors are
leaving like never before. Also, external
information, including the Gospel, is
flooding in which totally disrupts the narrative
of the Kim regime of DPRK being a
worker’s paradise.
Kim Jong-un is desperately trying to
control the situation. There is evidence
of more arrests, expanding prisons, and
increased torture. Christians are at a
greater risk for persecution during North
Korea’s hour of desperation.
In 1907, Pyongyang experienced one of
history’s greatest revivals and was dubbed
the ‘Jerusalem of the East’ as a result. Satan
has worked to extinguish this flame and it
nearly worked. Yet, a small flame still flickers
within North Korea and may just soon
turn into a consuming fire to burn down the gates of this prison.

Some good news from Sudan.

 Latest

Petr Jasek, Hassan Abduraheem, Kuwa Shamaal and Abdulmonem Abdumawla in prison…ALL NOW FREE!

Thank you for praying for and writing on behalf of prisoners in Sudan. After 510 days in prison, Rev Hassan Abduraheem and Mr Abdulmonem Abdumawla were released on Thursday after receiving a presidential pardon. The two were arrested in December 2015 along with Voice of the Martyrs field worker Petr Jasek and Rev Kuwa Shamaal. Rev Shamaal was acquitted of all charges and released in January, while Petr Jasek was released in February, also after receiving a presidential pardon.
‘My joy is now complete as they are now free as well,’ Petr said following their release.
Petr spoke to Rev Abduraheem at about midnight Sudan time following his release on May 11. ‘He told me that both he and Abdulmonem were in good health and were excited and so happy to be free. He also expressed thanks to all of those who had pushed their case,’ Petr said.
Rev Abduraheem told Petr that he had no regrets about his time in prison because he could see the Lord’s purpose for him there. He was able to encourage Christians in various prisons in Sudan while his imprisonment also served to encourage and embolden the Sudanese church in general.
The pastor told Petr that he had already forgiven those who interrogated and imprisoned him and that he felt no anger or bitterness. ‘I pray that the Lord Jesus would reveal himself to them as Lord and Saviour,’ he said.

ANOTHER piece of incredible news

 

“I am now with my children and my family, they are happy, some are crying. They can’t believe it”
– Rev Hassan, freed today after 17 months in detention

Sorry to email you again so soon after the news of Li Heping’s release, but we’ve just had some amazing news from Sudan!

Reverend Hassan, a church leader, and Mr Abdumawla, an activist, have been released from prison today. Both men were serving unjust twelve-year sentences for espionage, inciting hatred between sects and propagating false news, but were set free after receiving a presidential pardon. Read more in our press release.

Thank you so much for all your praying, campaigning, tweeting, and more on behalf of these two men as well as Rev Kuwa and Mr Jašek, who had stood trial alongside them. Many of you tweeted Jan Figel, a senior EU representative, asking him to raise the case with the Sudanese government during his visit to the country earlier this year.

It’s been a truly humbling week here at CSW: and it’s only Thursday! Only this morning, in our staff prayers, we were thanking God for the release of Chinese human rights lawyer Li Heping and praying for these men in prison in Sudan.

Join us in thanking the God who answers prayer powerfully!

“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives.” Isaiah 61:1

Finally, we have a message for you from Rev Hassan:

“Thank you so much for your help and your prayers, for what you have done for us.”

 

 

 

Pastor Kuwa Shamal, imprisoned for a year has been released but  Rev Hassan and Mr Abdumawla, a Sudanese activist, have  been sentenced to lengthy prison terms just for helping a young man in need. Throughout the country churches and Christian schools are being targeted for demolition,

 Previous headlines.

Two men in Sudan are in a maximum security prison. They didn’t do anything wrong.

 

 

LATEST.UPDATE  This is an absolute travesty by a government guilty of genocide…

SUDAN: Life sentence for act of compassion  View this email in your browser
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Christian Missionaries Given Harsh Prison Sentences in Sudan
 
Strong Crackdown on Christian Ministries Continues in Sudan
02/02/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Sunday, January 29, three Christians were sentenced by the Sudanese court in North Khartoum for charges including spying, entering Sudan without a visa, inciting hatred, photographing military installations, and publishing fake news. Reverend Hassan Abduraheem was sentenced to 12 years, Mr Abdumonem Abdumawla was sentenced to 12 years, and Petr Jasek was sentenced to 20 years.
Petr Jasek is a Czech national, and Abdumawla and Abduraheem are citizens of South Sudan. They were detained for eight months without being formally charged in December of 2015. Their detainment centered on a receipt that linked them to helping a burn victim who was wounded in demonstrations in 2013. The list of charges against them quickly grew exponentially.
The Czech government has rejected the ruling as groundless and insists that there is no evidence for this harsh sentence.
The sentencing sent out shockwaves through the Christian community of Sudan and South Sudan. A pastor in the region told ICC, “The community of Christians in Sudan and South Sudan is very disappointed by the verdict given on Sunday. The three brothers in the Lord deserve better. They have families and churches to take care of and we are joining hands together as Christians to fast and pray and we shall not stop knocking until they are released.”
According to some, persecution against Christians is increasing in Sudan. As one Christian who lived in Sudan told ICC, “The pain that Christians go through in Sudan is nothing close to what we hear or read in websites. Christian persecution has been increasing rapidly in Khartoum and we ask the international community to come in full swing and help.”
A strong majority of Sudanese citizens are Muslim and the Sudanese government has taken an aggressive approach against Christian ministries within its borders. The sentencing of these three Christian foreigners sends a signal on Khartoum’s stance on religious freedom: it is unwanted. Still, many are joining in prayer for the release of their brothers in Khartoum and for opportunities to share the Gospel in Sudan.
One of the pastors who was imprisoned with them but has since been released told ICC, “Our brothers in South Sudan have been praying and we shall continue praying until justice is done. These sentences are hostile to the Church and a stumbling block to the spreading of the Gospel in Sudan and also at the border of Sudan and South Sudan.”
Daniel Harris, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “International Christian Concern strongly condemns this harsh sentence based on fabricated charges. These three men have done nothing to deserve punishment. Instead, they have worked tirelessly to provide humanitarian aid in Sudan. This sentencing is the ‘death knell’ for human rights and religious freedom in Sudan. We strongly encourage Sudan to release these foreigners and allow religious freedom for its citizens.” 
 
Christian gets life sentence – for act of compassion
Czech Christian Petr Jašek has been sentenced to life in prison in Sudan – after a court convicted him yesterday of spying.
His real crime? Helping a student from Darfur who had been badly injured at a rally.
His co-defendants – Sudanese nationals Rev Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour and Abdulmonem Abdumawla – were each sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison, mainly for helping Petr.
Please pray that God’s peace and presence will be with these three men and their families, and that their appeal will be successful.
The three men were also convicted of ‘spreading rumours that undermine the authority of the state’ and inciting hatred. Petr was found guilty of taking pictures of military installations and entering Sudan without a visa; he was also fined 100,000 Sudanese pounds (more than £12,000) for doing aid work without a permit. Yesterday’s court ruling has shocked many. The legal maximum penalty for ‘spreading rumours to undermine the authority of the state’ is six months – but the judge in Khartoum doubled this sentence. All three men plan to appeal immediately. They were first detained in December 2015.

  • Pray that God will comfort and strengthen Petr, Hassan and Abdulmonem so they will not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16).
  • Ask God for wisdom for the legal team supporting the three men. Pray that their appeal will be heard swiftly and will be successful.
  • Pray that the light and love of Jesus Christ will continue to shine in Sudan, despite intense persecution of His people there.

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Thank God that our Sudanese brother Pastor Kowa Shamaal was released from prison recently, after a judge dismissed the charges against him for lack of evidence. However, the judge decided to proceed with the trial against Pastor Kowa’s fellow Sudanese detainees, Pastor Hassan Abduraheem and Mr Adbulmonem Abdumawla, and Czech Christian Petr Jašek: their next hearing is scheduled for Monday, January 9. The three are accused of serious crimes, including spying. (Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

 

 

Sudan case update

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Sudan-Kwa-Hassan

Rev. Kwa Shamaal and Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor photo: Middle East Concern

During a trial on August 22, 2016, prosecutors in Sudan accused two church leaders and two others of tarnishing the image of the country and crimes calling for the death penalty, sources said.

The trial had been postponed on Aug. 14 when authorities failed to transfer the pastors to court, a defense attorney told Morning Star News. The prosecutors presented investigators from Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in calling on the court in Khartoum to execute the Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor and the Rev. Kwa Shamaal, both of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), for at least seven alleged crimes against the state, the defense attorney said.

He said the defense team is bracing for the charges concocted, which include the capital crimes of espionage and waging war against the state. In court, Abdelrahim denied all charges that NISS, said to be staffed by hard-line Islamists with broad powers to arrest people the government deems undesirable, brought against him, the attorney said.

“We are 100 percent ready to defend our clients,” the attorney said.

The pastors have also been charged with: complicity to execute a criminal agreement; calling for opposition of the public authority by violence or criminal force; exciting hatred between classes; propagation of false news article; and entry and photograph of military areas and equipment.

“There is no evidence against the two pastors,” a relative of one of the church leaders told Morning Star News.

Since the pastors’ transfer from a holding cell to Al-Huda Prison on Aug. 11, prison officials have denied them visitors, telling one family member, “Visits are not allowed.” Abdelrahim’s family has been concerned for his health as they have been unable to provide him with the medication he needs for stomach ulcers, according to advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Also charged is Abdulmonem Abdumawla of Darfur, a Muslim who was arrested in December after he began collecting money to help a friend, Ali Omer, who had needed treatment for burns suffered in a student demonstration. Abdumawla contacted Abdelrahim, who donated money for Omer’s treatment, which apparently raised the ire of Sudanese authorities, according to CSW.

Omer had been injured during a demonstration at Quran Karim University in Omdurman last year that left him with severe burns that require regular medical care, according to CSW. A senior member of the student wing of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) died when 150 NCP students attacked Darfuri students at a meeting at Sharg El Nil College in Khartoum in April 2015, CSW reported.

“Since that incident, Darfuri students have been increasingly targeted by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS),” CSW reported. “By May 2015, over 100 Darfuri students were detained by NISS in Khartoum and during 2016, NISS has violently suppressed peaceful student demonstrations against government repression.”

Shamaal, head of missions for the SCOC, was arrested on Dec.18, as was Abdelrahim. Shamaal was released on Dec. 21 but was required to report to NISS offices daily, a requirement that was removed on Jan. 16. Shamaal was re-arrested on May 25.

Many church members, mostly from the SCOC, gathered outside of the courtroom to show their solidarity with the two pastors, singing songs calling for their release.

The court appears to be trying to package the case of Omer and the two pastors together with that of a fourth defendant, 52-year-old Petr Jasek, a Christian from the Czech Republic whom NISS accuses of entering the country illegally in October of last year, espionage and tarnishing the country’s image with reports saying Christians in Sudan are being persecuted.

Most SCOC members have roots among the ethnic Nuba in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan’s South Kordofan state, where the government is fighting an insurgency. The Nuba along with other Christians in Sudan face discrimination, as President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to introduce a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and Arabic language.

Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2016 report.

Sudan ranked eighth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2016 World Watch List of countries where Christians face most persecution.

VOP Note: Please pray for these pastors and their families. The next hearing is expected to take place on tomorrow, August 29th.  Father, take their fear and give then hope through Your presence. May Your light shine from them as a witness for all to see. Give them joy unexpected in these dark days. Hold them up as they stand on the firm foundation of faith. In Jesus Holy name, Amen.

Please pray for all our brothers and sisters under constant threat in Sudan.

 

 

Seek justice for two pastors in Sudan

Dear Julian,

Since December 2015, Pastor Telal Rata, Rev. Hassan Taour and three other Christians have been unlawfully detained without charge, incommunicado, in an unknown location in Sudan.

Pastor Telal Rata, leader of the Fellowship of University Christian Students, was allowed only one visit from family members. They have since been denied access to him. Rev. Hassan Taour, vice-moderator of the Sudan Church of Christ, has been denied all access to either his family or his lawyer. Three other Christian workers, whose names have not been made public, have also been detained.

These Christians are being detained unlawfully, denied access to a fair legal process, and may be at risk of ill-treatment or torture. Their plight forms part of a widening campaign by the Sudanese government to suppress Christianity through imprisoning Christians and demolishing churches.

Pray for the disclosure of their whereabouts so they can see family and lawyers.

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Please pray

• For Pastor Telal, Rev. Hassan, the three other Christians, and their families; that God will give them strength and courage in the face of this persecution
• For God to soften the hearts of the Sudanese authorities, leading them to release His people.

Thank you for your compassion, faithfulness and God-given passion for justice.

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42: 6-7)

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MORE…

Prisoners of Faith Alert – May 2016
Imagine for a moment that the police have turned up at your home, taken your husband or wife, son or daughter into custody, and then refused to tell you where they are being held, why they have been arrested and whether or not they are all right. Even after almost five months, you still do not know where they are being held or how they are being treated. That is the awful reality for the family of Pastor Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour in Sudan.
Taour and another pastor, Telahoon Nogosi Kassa Rata, who were arrested in December 2015, remain in detention. As you read their Prisoner Profile please pray for their physical and spiritual wellbeing and for their families.
As part of our support for prisoners of faith and their families, Release is monitoring the situation and will update you on any developments in the case of our two Sudanese brothers.
Thank you for praying for and caring for prisoners of faith.
Hebrews 13:3 (NIV) – ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.’
Thank you for supporting and engaging with Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith.
You can download this Profile as a pdf document by clicking here.
You can download this Profile as a pdf document by clicking here.
Thank you for all your support for Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith.

Find out more about writing to, and on behalf of, prisoners of faith by downloading our Speak Out! and Reach Out! booklets.

By praying for, supporting and writing to, and on behalf of, prisoners of faith you are fulfilling the biblical exhortation to ‘REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON’ (Hebrews 13:

Every blessing,

Lisa

Zoe
Open Doors Advocacy

More murder in Egypt

 
Another Christian in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula Murdered by Suspected ISIS Militants
Eighth Killing Follows Expanded Operations by ISIS in Egypt
05/07/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Saturday, May 6, a Christian man in El-Arish, Egypt, was shot and killed by four masked men while inside his barbershop. This is the first Christian to be murdered by masked men in El-Arish since seven were killed in a series of murders over the months of January and February, causing hundreds of Christian families to flee the city.

Nabeel Saber Fawzi, age 40, and his family, including a wife and two children, were among the hundreds of Christian families to flee El-Arish in late February 2017.
Nabeel and his family fled to Port Said where they lived in a small apartment in a youth house,” a relative of Fawzi, wishing to remain anonymous, told ICC.
On April 27, Nabeel decided to leave his wife and children in Port Said to return and reopen his barbershop in Arish because he did find any job in Port Said to meet the physical needs of his family,” the relative explained.”Plus, he thought that the situation had become quiet and stable in Arish.”
He was opening his barbershop from time to time over the last 10 days,” the relative continued. “On Saturday, May 6, four masked gunmen broke into his shop and shot him in the head resulting in immediate death.”
Starting in late January through February, seven Christians in El-Arish were murdered under similar circumstance. As this series of targeted murders was taking place, an Islamic State affiliate in the Sinai promised to eliminate Egypt’s Christian minority claiming Egyptian Christians were the group’s “favorite prey.” Since then, ISIS attacks across Egypt have dramatically increased, including the bombing of two churches on Palm Sunday killing at least 45 and injuring another 126.
William Stark, ICC’s regional manager, said, “We are deeply concerned for the developing situation in Egypt. This year has already been a difficult year for many Christians in Egypt, especially those displaced by the El-Arish murders and those affected by the Palm Sunday bombings. Unfortunately, many of the Christian families displaced from El-Arish find themselves in situations similar to Nabeel. Cut off from their homes and livelihoods, many are finding it difficult to provide for themselves. More has to be done by Egypt’s authorities to confront ISIS and secure Christian communities across Egypt. Until then, it is likely we will continue to see attacks on Christians and their places of worship.”

Saudi Arabs

Another unreached people: How will they hear.  If they are converted how can they live out their faith?

Arab, Saudi – Hijazi in Saudi Arabia

Arabia once had a large Christian population, but they were expelled when Islam gained control 1300 years ago. Saudi Arabs see themselves as preservers of the Islamic faith, and the Wahabi fundamentalists were formed here. The Hijazi Arabs speak one of the variants of the Arabic language.

Ministry Obstacles
Any overt expression of the Christian faith is likely to bring strong negative response.

Outreach Ideas
Satellite TV and evangelistic websites are only two of the ways that the Gospel message can be communicated to these people.

Pray for the followers of Christ
Pray fervently for the few believers among the Arabs of Saudi Arabia, for their protection, and for their growth in the faith. Pray they will be courageous yet very tactful.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray for the Saudi Arabs, that their religious zeal will soon be directed toward serving Jesus the Son of God.

Scripture Focus
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:3

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Pastor in India Loses Hearing from Assault by Hindu Extremists

Is his hearing loss permanent? Don’t know, but sounds like it is.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Pastor Sikhandar Kumar after assault in Jadhua, Bihar state. (Morning Star News courtesy of family)

India (Morning Star News) – A pastor in eastern India’s Bihar state has lost his hearing after Hindu extremists assaulted him outside his home on church premises last month, sources said.

Doctors at a Hajipur government hospital determined the loss of hearing and wounds on Pastor Sikandar Kumar’s body were a result of being beaten with iron rods and sticks, Vaishali District Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kumar told Morning Star News.

Pastor Kumar, 45, was at his home in Jadhua village when a young boy riding a bicycle knocked on his door on April 5, church officials said. The boy told the pastor and his wife that a group of men were waiting outside to meet him, according to pastor Arun Kumar, who is now leading the victim’s Pentecostal congregation.

“When the pastor…

View original post 478 more words

Pakistani Christian sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy

Yet another Pakistani travesty of justice!

 

CLAAS, a religious freedom advocacy group updated Voice of the Persecuted on the case of Zafar Bhatti, a Christian in Pakistan who was falsely charged of blasphemy and now sentenced to life imprisonment by a Pakistani court on May 3, 2017.

Bhatti had been charged under blasphemy law section 295C and telegraph act section 25D in 2012 for sending blasphemous text messages from his mobile phone, which is according to reports was not registered to his name. He denies the charges.

Since 2012, he has been imprisoned in Adiala Central Jail Rawalpindi. Considering the threats to his life, the case was conducted in the jail on April 24 but the judgment was reserved for later dates. On May 3, the Additional session judge jailed him for life.

Usually courts hand down a death sentence to those who are charged under 295-C, but because there was no concrete evidence against Bhatti, he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead.

In 2012 Islamabad, the lawyers’ bar passed a resolution that no lawyer will represent Bhatti in the court, but CLAAS accepted his responsibility. They’re also helping to care for his family.

Due to threats against the accused and their lawyers, CLAAS tried to move the case to Lahore but the request was denied.

Nasir Saeed, director CLAAS-UK said it is very unfortunate that even though there was not enough evidence against Bhatti, instead of freeing him, the court has sentenced him to life imprisonment because of pressure from Islamists.

“The blasphemy law is continuously being misused in Pakistan to take revenge and settle personal scores. Christians are the most targeted group, and several Christians have been burnt alive, and even their towns and churches are often attacked and set to fire.”

“The lower court’s judges always hesitate to make decisions on the merit, or free people accused of blasphemy, and instead transfer their burden to the higher court without realizing how their decision will impact the accused and their families’ lives.”

CLAAS says they will appeal against the lower court’s decision to the Lahore high court. They believe Bhatti is innocent and will be freed by the higher court. Unfortunately, it will take several years for his case to be heard by the High Court.

Please pray for Bhatti and his family who are suffering needlessly.

Recently Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a resolution to prevent abuse through introducing safeguards. However, all such calls have faced strong opposition in the past. Those who’ve demanded changes in the blasphemy law were silenced and threatened with death.  The governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti were savagely killed, as their acts were considered equal to blasphemy by hardliners.

Nevertheless, this latest resolution is clearly something to be welcomed and another reason to continue praying for the repeal of the laws so nobody has to suffer needlessly,  CLAAS told Voice of the Persecuted.

Meanwhile, Nabeel Masih, a 16-year-old accused of blasphemy in Punjab, has just been denied bail for the second time. He has been in jail since September after being accused of ‘liking’ on Facebook an allegedly blasphemous post. Nabeel’s friends say he’s been framed.

Believers’ homes in Israel attacked

Messianic believers in southern Israel have been the target of a violent protest over a new meeting centre that’s just opened in Dimona.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews caused a disturbance outside the new Messianic meeting place last Thursday – then took their protest out into the community, attacking believers’ homes.

Please pray for Albert and Esther Knoester who lead the new centre in Dimona and for their congregation.

Those behind the attacks last week are thought to be linked with the anti-missionary organisation, Yad L’Achim. After protesting outside the Messianic centre, they attacked the Knoesters’ home and that of another member of the congregation, breaking windows and causing other damage. There were children in both houses at the time, and they were said to be extremely frightened.

Attacks on Messianic congregations in Israel are common: the one in Arad town reportedly suffers harassment almost daily, and several church buildings have been attacked in recent years.

  • Please pray that our almighty God will comfort and strengthen Messianic believers in Dimona and across Israel. Pray that they will know he will protect them ‘in the day of trouble’ (Psalm 27:5).
  • Ask God for wisdom for Albert and Esther, and for other families in their congregation: pray they will continue to witness to their community, despite opposition.
  • Pray that Israeli officials will deal effectively with those responsible for these incidents, for the sake of religious tolerance in their nation.

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Morocco abolishes death penalty for apostasy from Islam

MOROCCO

Morocco’s High Religious Committee decreed earlier this year that individuals who leave Islam should not face the death penalty for apostasy. This astounding ruling from a body charged with issuing fatwas (an authoritative religious or juridical ruling), reverses the classical sharia legislation that has stood since medieval times.

It is all the more significant given that the same High Religious Committee had issued a book just five years ago, containing fatwas which affirmed the classical sharia position that a Muslim who changes his or her religion should be punished by death.

Kutubiyya mosque in Marrakesh, Morocco
CC BY-SA 2.0 by Jean-Marc Astesana

In their 2017 document, entitled The Way of the Scholars, the High Religious Council argued that Muhammad and his early followers killed apostates only for political reasons (because they were traitors to the nascent Islamic community) not for religious reasons:

“The most accurate understanding, and the most consistent with the Islamic legislation and the practical way of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is that the killing of the apostate is meant for the traitor of the group, the one disclosing secrets … the equivalent of treason in international law.”

The High Religious Committee supported this stance with examples of the words and actions of Muhammad and other early Muslim leaders, showing that apostates were only punished when they posed a security threat. They also pointed out the Quran speaks only of apostasy being punished in the afterlife, not in this life.

The same points have been made over the centuries by many Muslims who believed that Muhammad never intended a death sentence for apostasy as such, only for treason.  But these scholars lost the argument and the death sentence was incorporated into sharia as it was gradually developed. All five surviving schools of sharia practised today (four Sunni and one Shia) have a death sentence for adult males who leave Islam.  Since about 1258, no change has been allowed in sharia, and anyone calling for an amendment to the apostasy law risks the death sentence themselves for daring to seek to change sharia.

The Maliki Sunni school of sharia, practised in Morocco, has a death sentence not only for men but also for women apostates. Three days are to be given for repentance before the execution is carried out. The apostasy need not be spoken aloud in order to incur this punishment. Child apostates are to be killed on reaching maturity.

The Moroccan High Religious Committee (or Superior Council of the Ulema) is presided over by King Mohammed VI. According to Article 41 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution (one of the most moderate constitutions of any Muslim-majority nation), the King, known as Commander of the Faithful, is responsible for ensuring compliance with Islam and also for freedom of worship.  He submits questions to the Committee, which studies the issues and then writes a fatwa to answer the question. No one else is allowed to comment on the issues.   The powers, composition and methodology of the Committee are established by royal decree.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, founder of Barnabas Fund and himself a convert from Islam to Christianity, has for many years been campaigning for the abolition of the classical Islamic apostasy law with its death sentence.  “The courageous and visionary announcement by the Moroccan authorities is to be warmly welcomed and applauded” commented Dr Sookhdeo.   “It is over 700 years since anyone of recognised stature within the mainstream global Islamic community has taken this stance publicly. Morocco, as a leading Islamic nation with a track record of moderation and led by a king descended from the Islamic prophet Muhammad, is uniquely placed to spearhead a movement that must gladden the hearts of all right-thinking people of any faith or none.  I call on other Islamic religious authorities, such as Al-Azhar University in Cairo, to adopt the Moroccan position so that we can see the total abolition of the death penalty for Muslims who choose to leave their religion.”

 

Jakarta governor Ahok sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy

Shock sentence comes after hardline Islamist groups called for Christian official to be jailed for referencing Qur’an verse

Ahok supporters protest outside the court in Jakarta.
Ahok supporters protest outside the court in Jakarta. Photograph: Mast Irham/EPATuesday 9 May 2017 First published on Tuesday 9 May 2017

An Indonesian court has found Jakarta’s Christian governor guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years in prison, in a trial that was widely seen as a test of religious tolerance and pluralism in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, was “found to have legitimately and convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy, and because of that we have imposed two years of imprisonment”, the head judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, told the court.

“As part of a religious society, the defendant should be careful to not use words with negative connotations regarding the symbols of religions, including the religion of the defendant himself.”

Another judge, Abdul Rosyad, said reasons for the stiff sentence included that “the defendant didn’t feel guilt, the defendant’s act has caused anxiety and hurt Muslims”.

After the verdict, the five-judge panel ordered Ahok’s immediate arrest. Ahok has said he will appeal.

The blasphemy charge related to Ahok’s use of a passage of the Qur’an during campaigning for his re-election in September, which hardline Islamist groups said amounted to insulting the holy book.

He insinuated that his opponents had used a Qur’anic verse to trick people into voting against him. An edited version of his speech went viral online, sparking outrage.

Ahok, a Christian with ethnic Chinese roots, is a double minority. His trial came after large protests against him in the capital that drew hundreds of thousands on to the streets.

On Tuesday, hundreds of members of hardline Islamist groups gathered outside the south Jakarta courtroom amid a heavy security presence, calling for Ahok to be given the maximum penalty.

As news of the sentence emerged members of the crowd shouted “God is greatest”.

The government has been criticised for not doing enough to protect religious minorities, but President Joko Widodo, an ally of Ahok’s, has urged restraint over the trial and called for all sides to respect the legal process.

Thousands of police have been deployed in the capital to prevent clashes between Ahok supporters and opponents. “Both groups will have the opportunity to demonstrate, but we are taking steps to prevent clashes,” said the national police spokesman, Setyo Wasisto.

Ahok lost his bid for re-election in an April run-off to a Muslim rival, Anies Baswedan.
He will hand over to Baswedan in October. The vote was the most divisive and religiously charged in recent years.

Prosecutors had called for a suspended one-year jail sentence for Ahok on charges of hate speech. His opponents believe that is too light. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.

Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the verdict was “a sad day for Indonesia”.

“Ahok’s is the biggest blasphemy case in the history of Indonesia. He is the governor of Indonesia’s largest city, an ally of the president. If he can be sent to jail, what could happen to others?” he said.

Harsono said more than 100 Indonesians have been convicted of blasphemy in the past decade, and acquittals in such cases were extremely rare.

Todung Mulya Lubis, a human rights lawyer who also defended the Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, said it was worrying that one judge cited the leader of a hardline Islamic group known as the Islamic Defender’s Front as an expert in the judgment.

“Rizieq Shihab cannot be considered as an expert because he openly, publicly accused Ahok of blasphemy, so he is not an independent, neutral expert anymore. But the judges mentioned his name in their judgment and I thought this is not correct.”

“The judges also talked about experts from [the Islamic organisation] Majelis Ulama Indonesia. With all respect, I don’t think they can be considered as experts because they had taken sides already, long before the trial.

Lubis said the verdict set a “bad precedent”, adding: “Religion is a private matter … so when you put it in the criminal code it can be used by people to discredit and suppress others. This is the problem with the blasphemy law. This is a very sad moment for us.”

82 Chibok Girls Released

Paragraph highlighted in red is a concern! And of course any concession to these murderous Islamists is shameful.

After months of negotiation, 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls were released by Boko Haram militants on Saturday 6 May.

They were part of the group of 276 girls (predominantly Christian) kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014.

The 82 young women (now aged between 19 and 21) were handed over to the Nigerian government in the town of Banki in northeast Nigeria close to the border with Cameroon. It is understood that the young women were released in exchange for five Boko Haram militant commanders.

The deal was negotiated by Mustapha Zanna, a barrister who currently runs an orphanage in Maiduguri but who was once the lawyer of the late founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf. It also involved the Swiss government and the Red Cross. A source said that negotiations were complicated but that “Both parties agreed to manage the release of the girls in a no winner, no vanquished manner. We don’t want to jeopardise the chances of freedom for others.”

Meeting with President Buhari

pres-buhari-with-chibok-girls-may-17On Sunday, the young women were picked up in Red Cross vehicles and boarded military helicopters to be flown to the capital, Abuja, where they were given medical checks and later met Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari. “I cannot express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom,” the president said, according to a statement released by his office. President Buhari promised to “personally supervise” the authorities charged with ensuring the girls’ “health, education, security and general well-being”. The 45-minute meeting was held shortly before President Buhari left for London for a medical consultation amid growing concerns over his health.

The young women appeared tired, sombre and confused but in reasonable health. Two of the group were physically injured – one with a wrist injury and the other was on crutches. One had a young child with her.

Joy in Chibok

Sources from Chibok said the entire town reacted with joy when the releases were confirmed, with churches full for Sunday services in which there were expressions of gratitude to God for “the bountiful harvest of release of our daughters from the hands of their abductors”.

“Our joy is unquantifiable; we are most grateful to God most high for this day, and will continue to pray fervently for the release of the remaining 113,” said Mrs Yana Galam, the leader of the mothers of the abducted girls, as she boarded a vehicle to Abuja.

The Bring Back Our Girls campaign welcomed the releases and commended the government for its action but also stated that the freed girls require rehabilitation and trauma counselling. “It’s not just to bring them back home, we must ensure that they get the education they are supposed to have…it is time for them to be reunited with their families. Psychosocial therapy… there has to be rehabilitation. And at the end of the day, we want to have world leaders out of every one of them so that they can be what the terrorists did not want them to be.”

It is unclear what will happen to the 82 young women. Some 21 others who were released in October 2016 are still being kept in Abuja, ostensibly for counselling and have not been allowed to go back and live with their families, who live 800 km away in Chibok. Concerns have been expressed that the government is reluctant to allow them freedom because it doesn’t want details of their treatment by Boko Haram to become known.

It is thought that some of the other 113 abducted schoolgirls are dead or have been radicalised and do not want to leave their Boko Haram husbands. A Boko Haram commander previously told a Nigerian newspaper that about ninety of the students “had since become Boko Haram members, having been married off and radicalised… as soon as they were captured”. The Nigerian government has pledged to work to secure the release of all the abducted girls.

Names of the released young women

1. Kwatah Simon 2. Grace Dauda 3. Junmai Paul 
4. Tabita Pogo 5. Yanke Shetima 6. Junmai Miutah 
7. Juliana Yakubu 
8. Mary Yakubu 
9. Ruth Kolo 
10. Mairawa Yahaya 
11. Rachael Nkeke 
12. Fibi Haruna 
13. Asaba Manu 
14. Esther Usman 15. Filo Dauda 
16. Awa Abga
1 17. Lydia Joshua 
18. Naomi Bitrus
 19. Martha James 20. Falmata Musa 
21. Aisha Ezekiel
 22. Awa Yerima
 23. Mwada Baba
 24. Hannatu Ishaku 
25. Mwa Daniel 
26. Rifhatu Soloman 
27. Maryanu Yakubu 
28. Rebecca Joseph 
29. Laid Audu 
30. Amina Pogu
 31. Sarah Nkeki 
32. Esther Josiiuwa
 33. Saraya Yanga 
34. Ruth Amos 
35. Hauwa Musa 
36. Hauwa Ishaya 37. Glory Aji
 38. Mary Ali 
39. Rahilla Bitrus 
40. Luggwa Mutah 
41. Lataba Maman
 42. Lydia Habila 
43. Deborah Peter
 44. Naomi Yaga
 45. Kwazigu Haman
 46. Lugguwa Samue
l 47. Maryamu Lawan 
48. Tobita Hellapa 
(Maryam Lawal)
 49. Ruth Ishaku
 50. Maryamu Musa 
51. Margret Yama
 52. Kawa Luka
 53. Solomi Titus 
54. Naomi Yahona
 55. Maimuna Usman 
56. Grace Paul
 57. Hawa Ntakai
 58. Yagana Joshua 
59. Comfort Bulus 
60. Ramatu Yaga
 61. Rhoda Peter
 62. Naomi Luka
 63. Naomi Adamu
 64. Liatu Habila 
65. Victoria William 
66. Ladi Ibrahim 
67. Christiana Ali
 68. Hanatu Stephen 
69. Patina Tabji 
70. Martha James
 71. Tabita Sila 
72. Yana Bukar 73. Abigie Bukar
 74. Hadiza Yakubu 
75. Naomi Zakariya 
76. Maryamu Wari 
77. Amina Bulama 
78. Asabe Lawan 
79. Mary Dauda 
80. Maryamu Balama
 81. Naomi Philemon 
82. Saratu Ayuba

(Al Jazeera, CNN, Daily Post, Daily Trust, Guardian)

P.R.C.P. Youth Camp 2017

The youth of the Protestant Reformed Churches of the Philippines recently met for teaching on “Love not the world” from their three pastors.

  • Do pray for these young people who are the church’s future.
  • For future pastors and office bearers.
  • Godly couples and covenant children.
  • Their witness at school and college.
  • Their godliness at home.

Represented were Berean, Bulacan, Maranatha and Provident churches plus some from Apayao.

Police, Mob Attack Synod Guard’s Quarters, Arrest His Family in Omdurman, Sudan

More Muslim wickedness released against God’s church in Sudan.

May. 05, 2017 | Sudan
Pray for a Christian Family Whose Home Was Destroyed

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Synod guard’s wife and their three children in jail in Omdurman, Sudan. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) Three weeks after an elder was killed in an attack on church property in Omdurman, Sudan, a mob with police on Monday (April 24) ransacked the living quarters of the compound guard and arrested his family, sources said.

Police accompanied by a mob demolished part of the room where the family lived after first destroying its padlock at the compound of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), sources said. Officers took 27-year-old Mona Matta, wife of guard Azhari Tambra, 28, and their children ages 6, 4 and 2 from their room at the SPEC synod offices and detained them until 10 p.m. at the Northern Division Police Station in Omdurman, they said.

Tambra was not home at the time of the attack. When Matta and her three children, including one…

View original post 847 more words

INDIA – Justice denied to the Christian victims in Orissa

Justice delayed is justice denied!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(Agenzia Fides) – “There are many little-known and never recounted incidents which occurred in the district of Kandhamal. Justice was denied to the most vulnerable and marginalized people such as Adivasi and Dalit Christians. The poor and the marginalized do not receive justice: this is a serious matter of concern for all of us if we want to save the Indian Constitution. The old saying is really true: Justice delayed is justice denied”: This is what A.P. Saha, a judge of the High Court of Delhi told Fides, presenting a new research on anti-Christian massacres that occurred in Orissa in 2008. The research, signed and published by two authors, lawyers Vrinda Grover and Saumya Uma, offers unusual and unpublished stories, revealing the shortcomings in managing justice to the victims.

Commenting on the publication, John Rebeka, activist for human rights, recalls the extent and the consequences of that campaign of violence:…

View original post 297 more words

Sri Lankan mob rule

It’s amazing how mob rule has been used by Satan over the centuries to silence God’s people, unjustly convict them and persecute them even to death–think of Christ, Stephen, Naboth and many others since!

Apr. 28, 2017 | Sri Lanka
Pray for Pastor Ishara, Whose Church Is Being Threatened

Apr. 28, 2017 | Laos
Pray for Kamea and Her Children as They Start a New

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Breaking News

Christian student granted judicial review after being expelled over views on sexuality

Felix Ngole has been granted permission for a judical review
 
Thank you for praying for Felix ahead of his hearing at the High Court.
We give thanks that on Tuesday (25 April) the High Court granted Felix permission for a judicial review of the decision to expel him from the University of Sheffield, after he expressed the Christian view of marriage and sexuality during a Facebook discussion.
Read Andrea Williams’ comment on the case
Help us protect gospel freedoms

Christian bar to office

Andrea Williams writes:
Felix Ngole puts another face to the increasing alienation of Christians from the public square.
In 2016 he was expelled from the University of Sheffield for expressing support for the biblical view of sexuality during a Facebook discussion.
Yet in an important ruling today, justice prevailed as the High Court granted permission for Felix to judicially review the University’s decision to expel him.
Read Andrea’s full comment
Yes, I want to stand with Felix

Donate to support Felix

The Christian Legal Centre is not charging Felix for the support that we give him. We are able to offer support to those who need it because of your generosity. Thank you.
But, as ever, this case is not just about Felix. It’s also about the freedom to hold and express Christian beliefs in public service.
Please help us to support Felix and others like him, by making a donation, however small, if you can.
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Iranian Christian Converts, Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Askari charged.

LATEST:

IRAN – Christian converts finally face trial after being incarcerated for seven months without charge

Two Christian converts have finally been charged by the authorities, seven months after being abducted by armed men as they picnicked with their families. Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Askari, both converts from Islam, have been incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison since September. Both men are now to be tried for organising house churches, although the prosecution’s case against them has not been presented to their lawyers.

The Iranian government brutally represses Farsi-speaking (i.e. Muslim background) churches, often called house churches. The persecution of Iranian Christians worsened in 2016.

From Mohabat news here

afshar_hadi

Imprisoned Christians end hunger strike in Iran

Earlier this week, two Christian converts who have been in prison since August 2016 ended their hunger strike after being promised medical care and progress in their case.
On 5 February, Amin Afshar Naderi (on left of image) and Hadi Askari (on right) went on hunger strike to demand medical care and to protest about delays in their case. No charges have been brought against either man.
On Tuesday (14 February), the Head of the Attorney General’s office Ali Akbar Bakhtiari and his deputy visited Naderi and Askari in Evin Prison in Tehran. They promised to investigate their case and that of others imprisoned for their religious beliefs, so Naderi and Askari ended their hunger strike.+

Prisoners of Faith Alert

Imprisoned twice in two years
Iranian Christian Amin Nader Afshar (pictured) is currently in prison in Iran for the second time in two years simply because he became a follower of Christ and seeks to live out his faith in his community.
Amin, together with several Christian friends, was arrested in August 2016 and remains in custody with no immediate prospect of release. Please pray for this dear brother, his family, his two Christian friends also incarcerated in Evin prison in Tehran, and for many other Iranian prisoners of faith.

Further updates reveal that Christian convert prisoner, Amin Afshar Naderi is still being held in Evin prison, despite earlier reports about his release.

Mohabat News – On October 19, 2016, a report came out of Iran that three of the five Christians arrested earlier in Firouz-kouh county, had been released. However, follow-up efforts have revealed that one of the three Christians previously thought to have been released, Amin Afshar Naderi, is still being held in prison.

Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News that the other two Christians, Mohammad Dehnavi and Ramil Bet-Tamraz, son of Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz were in fact released on bail, while their fellow believer, Amin Afshar Naderi still remains in prison.

As previously reported, the two Christians who were in fact released, had to post very heavy bails. They will be released until the day of their trial. As of now, three of the five believers still in prison are Amin Afshar Naderi, Amir Saman Dashti and Hadi Asgari, none of whom are officially charged yet. There are no further updates on their case and how long they will be held in prison in uncertainty.

Keeping political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in prison without any official charge is a known tactic of the Iranian government in order to pressure such prisoners.

These five Christian prisoners had been arrested on August 26, 2016 in a raid on a family gathering in Firouz-kouh county.

Reports from that incident state the plain-clothed security authorities beat a number of those attending the family gathering and after arresting five of them, they left their families with no news on the whereabouts of their loved ones. Their families said they checked with many prisons across the country but they were told such names are not registered as official prisoners in their system.

As many Iranians have shown incredible interest in Christianity in recent years, the Iranian Islamic regime has ramped up its campaign to crack down on Iranian Christian converts and prevent the spread of house church gatherings. Iran falsely sees its citizens’ conversion to Christianity as a threat to its existence and national security.

 

More Fulani Atrocities in Nigeria

In a ridiculously long letter ….https://voiceofthepersecuted.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/bishop-blames-government-for-fulani-massacre-in-nigeria/ the bishop of Kaduna accuses the local governor and the military of complicity in a recent massacre of 12 people in a village in this state.On the evening of April 15, 2017, while Christians had gathered for an Easter vigil, heavily armed gunmen entered Asso village in Kaduna state and began shooting sporadically at their victims. 12 people were killed and many were injured in the attack.

  • Pray for justice and even-handedness in the state and military, the salvation of these killers, comfort for the grieving believers, healing for the injured and maimed and God’s people to be purified through this wickedness.

 

 

 

 

Twen—Eritrea

  Pray for Twen (Eritrea)
 

Our focus for the last week of Lent is on Twen from Eritrea. Twen has been in prison for twelve years because of her Christian faith and has suffered beatings and torture. She and other long-term Christian women prisoners have been offered release if they renounce their faith, but refused.
Read the full Prayer Profile, which includes details about Twen’s arrest and sentence, her family, and daily prayer points (dated to begin this coming Sunday, 9 April, which is Palm Sunday).

 
TWO ERITREAN PRISONERS DIE AFTER HUNGER STRIKE

Two Pentecostal women died on 17 March, five days after being transferred to hospital from detention, where they had been on hunger strike  in protest at the violent sexual abuse they were receiving.                        Read more

ERITREA: “THERE IS NO FUTURE”

Dr Berhane Asmelash (Director of Release Eritrea) has spoken about his recent visit to Eritrean Christian refugees living in refugee camps in Ethiopia. He described the sense of desperation leading so many to flee their country.           Read more

JOIN VIGIL AT ERITREAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

On Thursday 18 May, Church in Chains will join in the annual vigil at the Eritrean Embassy in London, marking the 15th anniversary of the Eritrean government’s decision to close down churches

Two Burmese pastors detained for more then three months

Pastors Dom Dawng Nawng Latt (L) and La Jaw Gam Hseng. (Courtesy of Burma military

Burma (Morning Star News) – Two assistant pastors arrested by the Burma army have been jailed without trial for more than three months, sources said.

Pastors Dom Dawng Nawng Latt, 65, and 35-year-old La Jaw Gam Hseng were arrested on Dec. 24 after helping local journalists cover military conflict in northern Shan state, eastern Burma (Myanmar), where a Catholic Church building was bombed by Burma army jets in November. They are charged with unlawful association with an armed ethnic group, an accusation the Kachin Baptist Convention church leaders deny.

Aisling Hubert’s battle against gender abortion–costs paid!

 

Breaking News

Court rules Aisling Hubert must pay huge costs

These have been paid!!

 
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Personal message

By God’s grace, you’ve done it!

Thanks to your generosity, I can pay the costs awarded against me

Dear friends,

I’m writing with some exciting news about our battle to bring ‘gender–abortion’ doctors to justice. 
You may remember that after my attempt to prosecute two doctors was derailed by the Crown Prosecution Service, I was ordered to pay a huge sum in costs. 
In January, we reached a settlement with the two doctors. But that still left me with a vast amount to pay. 
Well, today, I am pleased to tell you that, thanks to your generosity, we have received enough money to pay those costs in full, and to make a contribution to the overall cost of running the case and the ongoing battle to protect life.
I am overwhelmed by your generosity, and give great thanks to God. Thank you so much.
Watch Aisling’s ‘thank you’ message

‘Stood alongside me, every step of the way’

Without the Christian Legal Centre, and your support, we could never have got as far as we have. In fact, I could never even have started.
And throughout, I have been humbled by your encouragement, your prayers, your partnership in contacting MPs, and your generous donations.
You have stood alongside me every step of the way because, like me, you care about God’s precious gift of life, and want to speak up for those who don’t have a voice.
This was never just ‘my’ case. It was all of ours – all of us who believe that life needs to be protected and the evil of abortion exposed.
It’s been a long journey but together we have walked it. We’ve kept the issue of abortion in the public spotlight and through the media, we’ve spoken to millions of people about the reality of abortion.   And I believe that by refusing to ‘keep quiet and go away’, we’ve made it harder for the authorities to ignore these evils in the future.
Thank you for making all this possible.
Watch Aisling’s ‘thank you’ message

‘Thank you for your amazing support’

I am so grateful to Andrea and her team at the Christian Legal Centre. They have given hours of expertise, working tirelessly and sacrificially, never counting the cost or allowing me to carry the burden alone.
The Christian Legal Centre has never charged me a penny, despite the huge resources it has poured into this case over the last three years.
I am so thankful to you for making all this possible.  
This chapter is coming to a close, but the battle for life continues. Later this year, we mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act. Since then, well over 8 million babies have lost their lives in the UK through abortion.   Now is not the time to shrink back. More than ever we need to fight to protect God’s precious gift of life. Let’s seek the Lord’s guidance for the next stage.   But thank you for the sacrifices that you have already made to stand up for unborn children. Thank you for your amazing support for me, Andrea and the Christian Legal Centre – it really is making a difference.
Yours,

Aisling Hubert

Watch Aisling’s ‘thank you’ message
Donate to continue the fight to protect unborn children
Read more about Aisling’s fight for life

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Stand for life by helping us raise the funds with Aisling
Thank you for praying for Aisling ahead of her costs hearing.
On Tuesday (17 January) Aisling went to court to challenge £36,000 of the costs that were awarded against her after she tried to bring two ‘gender-abortion’ doctors to justice.
The judge said he could not amend or reduce the costs. Instead a settlement was reached for the amount Aisling has to pay. She now has until 18 August to pay the agreed amount.
The terms of the settlement are confidential due to the wishes of the parties other than Aisling.
Aisling says that she will continue to fight for justice for the most vulnerable in society, despite having to pay huge legal costs.
Donate to help Aisling

‘The fight is not over’

We must raise the funds to pay these costs for Aisling, and continue the fight against ‘gender-abortion’.
She says:
“These little girls’ lives are infinitely valuable, so in a sense the costs mean nothing.
“This case has shown that doctors are willing to kill innocent girls not just abroad, but right here in the UK, and do it for money. Yet nobody is prosecuting them.
“The costs awarded against me are unjust, but I hope to raise the funds and continue to stand up for preborn girls.
“I’m glad that this case has now reached its end but the fight is not over. I will continue to seek justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Learn more about Aisling’s story

We’ve come a long way

Tuesday’s settlement means that a two year legal battle has now finished. In this time:

But we’ve got a long way to go

Despite these victories, there is a long way to go:

  • No one has yet been prosecuted for ‘gender-abortion’, even though the Crown Prosecution Service had enough evidence to prosecute Dr Sivaraman and Dr Rajmohan
  • MPs rejected an explicit ban on ‘gender-abortion’ after strong opposition from the pro-abortion lobby
  • We must help Aisling raise funds to pay the huge and unjust legal costs awarded against her
  • 200,000 babies are still killed every year by abortion doctors in the United Kingdom

We need to work together to end this horrific practice and help mothers and fathers who feel it is their only option.

This is our battle

Thank you for standing with Aisling. We long to see an end to ‘gender-abortion’. But we all need to work together in order to make an impact.
Will you help us raise the funds to pay Aisling’s costs?
Yes, I want to help Aisling

EGYPT – Palm Sunday suicide bombings leave 46 dead and scores wounded and why Jihadists bomb at Christian Festivals

Muslim Jihadists expose themselves as the wickedest sinners by killing and maiming professing Christians at these times of the year which celebrate the incarnation and cross both of which teach man’s total depravity and impotence in the eyes of a holy God.

 

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for two deadly suicide bombings at churches in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday (9 April), which left at least 46 people dead and as many as 110 injured. In Tanta, around 60 miles north of Cairo, the bomber ran up the aisle of the church and blew himself up near the altar, killing at least 30; in Alexandria, the bomber detonated himself outside the church as the congregation were leaving, after police had earlier prevented him from entering.

The attack comes less than four months after a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo, which claimed the lives of 28 believers. Following Sunday’s attacks, President Al-Sisi opened army hospitals to treat the injured free of charge and declared three days of national mourning.

Barnabas Fund is appealing for help to support the bereaved, to provide practical assistance, particularly for families who have lost their breadwinner. Click here for details of how you can help.

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  • Pray that God will comfort and bind up the broken-hearted and heal all those who have been affected physically and psychologically by yesterday’s attacks.
  • Pray that God’s perfect love will drive out fear. Pray that God’s people in Egypt will look to Him for their strength and their hope.
  • Pray that the Egyptian Government will step up its efforts to stamp out extremism and protect Egypt’s Christian minority

Sudanese believer murdered.

Sudanese believer pays with his life for defending Christian women


Younan died standing up for the right of our brothers and sisters in Sudan to worship freely.
He intervened after police confronted fellow Christians who were protesting peacefully against the illegal sell-off of the Evangelical School of Sudan in Omdurman. Younan was fatally stabbed.
Please ask God to comfort Younan’s widow and their two young children, and their congregation.
A three-day protest at the school ended on Monday when police arrested all the male protesters. Soon afterwards, an armed group of about 20 people turned up and began to beat the women.
Several men from the nearby Bahri Evangelical Church, including Younan Abdullah, rushed to the school to defend the women. Two of them were stabbed: Younan died of his injuries, while Ayoub Kumama needed hospital treatment. Police reportedly stood by and watched.
Among their attackers were members of an illegal committee the Government has imposed on the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church that runs the Omdurman school. Committee members have been selling off church properties to businessmen for ‘redevelopment’. The man whom police arrested on suspicion of stabbing Younan is believed to be a committee member.

  • Pray that Younan’s family and church will know God’s love, strength and peace.
  • Pray for Younan and his family; that those responsible for his death will be brought to justice.
  • Pray for wisdom for Sudanese Christians, and church leaders in particular, in the face of intense persecution.

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Kapali in Bangladesh

 Another unreached people. Matthew 24:14 still needs working out.

Kapali in Bangladesh

The Kapali are a Hindu agricultural caste spread primarily throughout West Bengal and Bangladesh. They are reputed to have at one time been Brahmins but have lost that status in the caste system. They have traditionally been a land owning community. Though divorce is not permissible, desertion may sometimes take place. Remarriage is allowed for both sexes in certain cases. The dead are cremated and pollution is observed for fifteen days. The death ritual Bachharkria is performed. They have family deities like Lakshmi, Narayan, Monasa, Sitala, Shiva, and others. The Kapalis follow their religious traditions with great devotion and piety.

Ministry Obstacles
The Kapali community is said to follow its religious traditions with devotion and piety.

Outreach Ideas
Persevering prayer is needed to prepare this community for the good news of Jesus Christ. After this preparation has occurred workers need to be sent to tell them this good news.

Pray for the followers of Christ
No Christians have been reported to the census of either Bangladesh or India from the Kapali community. There probably are no Christian believers, presently. But pray for those the Lord will soon draw to himself.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray this community will be given a hunger to know the living God, their Creator.

Scripture Focus
“Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:2-3

Hindu extremists rampage with impunity.

INDIA – Hindus force their way into Sunday church service and tell believers “we will not allow this foreign religion in our country and if you continue … we will kill you”

On Sunday 19 March, a Hindu mob forced their way through the main gate of a church in Bihar, threatening to kill Christians who they said were conducting “conversion activity”. The congregation locked themselves inside the church and called police, who then sided with the Hindu mob and took down the names and addresses of all the Christians. Members of the church recorded the incident, in which some of the mob told the believers “we will not allow this foreign religion in our country and if you continue doing this, we will kill you.” The police then ransacked the pastor’s home without a search warrant; the pastor said, “They devastated my house completely, not even leaving a flower vase unturned”.

Hindu extremists outside the church gate
Hindu extremists outside the church gate

Accusations that Christians are attempting to convert Hindus are frequently used as a pretext for violence. Indian Christians have been the targets of a hate crime every other day on average so far in 2017.

From Global Christian News here

Justice and injustice.

EGYPT – Court hands down strongest possible sentence to Muslim who slaughtered Christian shopkeeper

A Muslim man who murdered a Christian shopkeeper in an Islamic State style execution in January has been found guilty and sentenced to death by a court in Alexandria. The court’s decision to hand down the strongest possible sentence for the murder sends a clear message that Christians cannot be killed with impunity. Youssef Lamei, the 45-year-old shopkeeper who was killed on 3 January, was one of four Egyptian Christians murdered in the first two weeks of 2017.

Christian minorities are especially vulnerable to miscarriages of justice, particularly in cases where the victim is a Christian and the perpetrator and police are Muslim. However, the Egyptian courts’ swift prosecution of Youssef Lamei‘s murderer and the recent decision to reopen the case of a 70-year-old Christian grandmother beaten by a Muslim mob in May 2016 are positive steps for justice.

From Egypt Independent here

EGYPT – Local officials refuse Christians permission to meet; fundamentalist Muslims “wielding their power and imposing their will”

There will be no public celebration of Easter in the village of Kom Al Lufi, as the village’s Christians are still being refused permission to meet by authorities, nine months after Muslim rioters destroyed several Christian homes after falsely claiming one would be used as a church. Following the violence, a building in which believers had gathered to pray was closed, although local officials later pledged to re-open it to allow Christians to meet.

“We [still] have to travel to other nearby villages [to hold services],” explains one Christian resident. “Means of transport are not easy here, meaning that the aged and weak can never manage to go.” Even though the Egyptian government has passed new legislation to replace stringent Ottoman-era restrictions on churches, the Christians of Kom Al Lufi still have nowhere to gather. “Even though there is no killing … fundamentalist Muslims are wielding their power and imposing their will against our need to pray.”

From Wataninet here

Iranian injustice.

 

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Iranian Christians still waiting to hear if they’ll be whipped

Three other Iranian Christians – Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi – are still waiting to hear if they have won their appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes for drinking communion wine. A second case against them relating to crimes against ‘national security’ has yet to come to court; judges in Rasht have now referred the case to Tehran. Pray they will be acquitted on all counts. (Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
Next time you take communion at church spare a thought – and a prayer – for three Christians in Iran who may be whipped as a punishment for taking communion wine.
The men have appealed against the sentence but if their appeal fails they will receive 80 lashes each.
The lawyer for Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi attended a  hearing on Thursday during which they made their appeal against the brutal sentence handed down in September. Please pray that the appeal judge will overturn their sentence when he gives his verdict expected within 20 days.
The three men were arrested in Rasht in May as they celebrated communion. Their lawyer insists it is not illegal in Iran for Christians to drink wine, only Muslims. The three men have a Muslim background.
The three have also been charged with ‘acting against national security’. Iranian officials have threatened further charges if the men meet together or share the gospel with others.
Meanwhile, Christian converts Amin Nader Afshar and Hadi Askary have gone on hunger strike inside Tehran’s Evin Prison unless they receive adequate medical care and a fair trial soon. Hadi is reported to have a kidney infection which has not been treated.
They have been behind bars since their arrest last August, at a picnic in Firuzkuh, but have not yet been charged, despite weeks of interrogation. The other three men arrested with them posted substantial bail and were released.

  • Pray that the appeal judge will scrap the earlier sentence against Yaser, Saheb and Mohammad. Pray that no other charges will be brought against them.
  • Pray that God will protect and heal Amin and Hadi. Amin’s hunger strike has caused his blood pressure to drop dramatically. Pray that they and their three friends will be tried and acquitted soon.
  • Pray that every Christian behind bars in Iran will know that God will prove wrong every false word spoken against them (Isaiah 54:17).

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Iranian Christians Mohammed Roghangir and Massoud Rezai have been prevented from gaining early release from jail on good behaviour. Arrested at a prayer meeting in Shiraz in 2012, Mohammed and Massoud were sentenced to six and five years respectively for ‘action against national security’. A recent appeal by the men for early release was apparently blocked by Iranian intelligence.
Also in Iran, three house church members – Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi (known as Youhan) – have just been sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine. They plan to appeal. The three Christians from Rasht and their pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, are due to appear in court on October 15 charged with ‘action against national security’. (Source: Middle East Concern).

UPDATE

Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi  have been released on bail. Pray for their exoneration.

 

Korean pastors in China

Committee Calls for the Release of South Korean Pastors Detained in China
03/23/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a South Korean committee formed to address the detainment of two South Korean pastors in China issued a statement yesterday. The statement by The Pastors Seong-do Ohn & Byeong-gi Lee Release Committee calls on the South Korean government to do more to advocate for the release of the pastors. A source in South Korea told ICC that the committee is “working full time to release them.”
The two South Korean pastors who were detained with their wives on March 15 are accused of helping North Korean defectors living in China. One pastor, age 66, was arrested with his wife at the Qingdao airport. The other pastor, age 42, was arrested with his wife at a hotel in Qinhuangdao. The wives of the two pastors have since been released after a few days of investigation.
However, both pastors remain in custody. The Pastors Seong-do Ohn & Byeong-gi Lee Release Committee is calling on the government of South Korea to act more quickly in addressing the detainment of the two pastors. The statement says, “The government of the Republic of Korea has an obligation to actively protect and support those who have been arrested for helping refugees in China…” The committee also calls on the South Korean government to speak out to protect South Korean people detained in other countries.
The committee claims that the delayed response of South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, in addressing the situation has been “painful” and “unfair” to the families.
Jeff King, President of ICC said, “ICC calls on the government of South Korea to act swiftly to secure the release of these two pastors. These pastors were providing humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. To simply ignore the detainment of these pastors will put many others providing humanitarian aid at risk.”

Partial Indian Police

Indian police look on as Christians beaten

Hindu extremists
Christians in India are finding that the very people who should be protecting them from attack – the police – are now becoming complicit in their persecution.
Believers in the east of the subcontinent say officers are increasingly under the sway of Hindu extremists and are allowing persecution to go ahead unpunished. Not only are they standing by while Christians are beaten but they then arrest the victims!
These allegations follow a recent attack on Pastor Ajay Kumar and a Bible college student called Assaryav in Begusarai district, Bihar state. The men were lured into a marketplace on false pretences then badly beaten. Their attackers ordered police not to interfere – and they obeyed.
Pastor Ajay suffered internal injuries and is reported to have persistent pain in one ear; Assaryav has a leg injury. Senior police who arrived on the scene later arrested the Christians, not their attackers, and charged them with ‘outraging religious feelings’.
Two days later, Hindu extremists gathered outside the nearby Mahanaim Church and accused its pastor, Christopher Bhonsle, of ‘forcible conversion’. Again, police called to the scene took down the Christians’ details and searched the pastor’s home. They later admitted to Pastor Christopher that they had acted merely to ‘appease’ the Hindu extremists.

  • Pray for Christians in Begusarai district who reportedly feel exposed and vulnerable as police appear to be siding with the extremists.
  • Pray that Bihar state officials will take action against religious intolerance. A recent meeting of church leaders with the state’s chief minister was ‘abruptly cancelled’.
  • Ask God to strengthen and comfort His people in Bihar, amid mounting attacks on Christians and especially church leaders.

(Source: Morning Star News)

IRAN – Maryam deteriorating.

 LATEST

MARYAM ZARGARAN’s CONDITION WORSENS AGAIN

Reports from Evin prison in Tehran indicate that Maryam is again in need of urgent medical care. She has suffered severe weight loss and the stressful conditions in prison have exacerbated her congenital heart condition.

 

>>>BACK IN PRISON>>>

 

 

On September 17, 2016  Iranian Christian convert, Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Nasim) was sent back to Evin prison when the extension of her medical furlough was rejected, reports Voice of Iranian Christians (Vocir). Maryam (Nasim) will finish out her four year sentence regardless of her serious and deteriorating health condition. Please pray for healing and endurance and keep her family in your prayers. Share her story and encourage others to pray for her well-being and permanent release. Raise your voices for Iranians imprisoned for their Christian faith.  Speak out of the serious human rights abuses Christians are facing in Iran. 

Write To Encourage Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Nasim)

Update: Maryam has been allowed temporary leave from Evin Prison to get medical aid. Prison authorities allowed Maryam to go home on Sunday 28th August. Her family hope that on this occasion the medical leave will be long enough for Maryam to receive adequate care.

 

 

Maryam Naghash Zargaran-Nasim

(Voice of the Persecuted) Iranian Christian prisoner, Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Nasim) suffers serious physical difficulties had been granted temporary medical leave. We’ve been informed she has been told to report back to the prison. When Iran grants medical leave to prisoners, you can be assured they’re gravely ill. Please pray for this Christian sister. Pray that they will at least allow her enough time to receive the full medical treatment she needs. Pray they will take her health condition seriously and give her the ongoing treatment she needs. Pray for her family who is heartbroken with worry she will not survive her prison term. Please lift her up to our Lord asking for permanent release from prison with expectancy for God to set her free.

Pray for all Christian prisoners in Iran and for the Holy Spirit to guide our brothers and sisters worshiping underground. Pray for the faith and rights of those converting from the Islamic faith. Iran is only second to China in the amount of those coming to Christ. Pray they will be bold and courageous sharing the Gospel and the love of Jesus with the lost.

 

 

IRAN – Christian prisoner ‘close to coma’   Your prayers are desperately needed for an Iranian Christian woman who is serving a four-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison.

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Jailed Iranian Christian seriously ill – but still officials refuse to set her free.
Our Iranian sister Maryam has gone on hunger strike again but security officials are still refusing to release her so she can receive proper treatment.
Please pray for Maryam Naghash Zargaran whose health has deteriorated sharply in the three weeks since she’s been on hunger strike. Her blood pressure is now very low and she has symptoms of possible early multiple sclerosis.
She is demanding her immediate release and protesting at the inadequate treatment she’s received for serious health issues while she’s been in Tehran’s Evin Prison. A judge refused her request – under pressure from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.
Maryam has been on hunger strike before, prior to being allowed out of her cell for three weeks last month to receive hospital treatment. But she was back behind bars on June 27, before her treatment was complete.
She’s serving a four-year sentence for ‘acting against national security’ – apparently because of her work on an orphanage with former prisoner of faith, Pastor Saeed Abedini.
Prison officials who gave Maryam a medical examination last week confirmed her condition is serious.

  • Ask God to comfort, sustain and heal Maryam: pray that she will know He is her shepherd and protector.
  • Pray that the officials who are barring Maryam’s release will be moved with compassion and allow her out in order to receive proper care.
  • Pray that all our brothers and sisters behind bars for their faith in Iran will know God’s peace and presence today. Pray that their witness will impact guards and inmates alike.

 

Family and friends of Maryam (Nasim) Naghash-Zargaran, a believer from a Muslim background, are greatly concerned about her health and request prayer for her treatment and release from prison.   On July 5th Maryam went on hunger strike as a protest against the lack of adequate medical treatment for long-standing health problems. She has refused solids and liquids and has not allowed prison medical staff to give her serum. Sources close to the family say that her condition is serious and that Maryam is close to becoming comatose.   Maryam has a history of heart problems. In addition, she has recently been suffering from pain in her ears and severe headaches. She has lost a lot of weight and continues to suffer from depression. Although the medical authorities in the prison recognise the severity of her condition and the need for treatment, the prosecutor’s office has refused to allow Maryam to leave prison to receive adequate care. The only recent concession was in October 2015, when she was allowed to go to a hospital for a few days, but forced to return to prison without receiving full treatment.   It has been reported that fellow prisoners in the prison ward showed their support for Maryam by forgoing family visits on Sunday as a form of protest.   Maryam was arrested in January 2013 in connection with her work on an orphanage with former Christian prisoner Saeed Abedini. She was charged with ‘acting against national security’ and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, which she started serving in July 2013 in the women’s ward at Evin. A request for a retrial was refused.   View her prisoner profile here.   (Source: Middle East Concern)

  • Pray Maryam would be allowed to receive proper treatment in hospital.
  • Pray that God would sustain Maryam and her family and friends during this critical time and that she would be released from prison, healed and restored.

LATEST>>>

Voice of the Persecuted Note:  On May 29th, Maryam’s blood pressure suddenly dropped and she fell unconscious. She was then transferred from prison to the hospital. Sources claim it took a few minutes before she was able recognized her relatives who came to see her in the hospital. Though she desperately needed to stay in the hospital, she was taken back to the prison without proper treatment. This sister needs our help.

As with other cases that have drawn international attention and outcry, we have seen prisoners receive better treatment and even released by the Iranian regime. Let us not be idle and act quickly. Please PRAY and SPEAK OUT for our sister suffering in Iran.  SIGN THE PETITION for the Immediate & Unconditional Release of the Imprisoned Christian Convert Maryam Naghash Zargaran. Share this story and encourage many to sign the petition.  Be her VOICE!

 

LATEST…Your sister Maryam is back in prison – but still sick
Maryam Naghash-Zargaran has been returned to her prison cell from hospital – before medics were able to treat her properly for serious health problems.
Please pray that God will heal and comfort our Iranian sister who’s now back behind bars in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Maryam had been on hunger strike in protest at the lack of proper medical care she’s had in jail. She was ‘almost comotose’ by the time she was finally allowed out of prison for treatment on June 6, having deposited a bond of £74,000.
When a court ordered her return to jail last week, her family applied to have her medical leave extended. The prosecutor’s office refused – and threatened to confiscate her bond money. She was returned to jail on Monday.
Maryam, who has a Muslim background, has been in jail since 2013 because of her work on an orphanage with Pastor Saeed Abedini. She’s serving a four-year sentence.

  • Please pray that God will heal and strengthen Maryam in a way that human doctors cannot. Pray for her swift release.
  • Thank God that Maryam’s fellow prisoners have been supporting her and backing her bid for medical treatment.
  • Pray that every Christian behind bars in Iran today will know God’s peace and presence.

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Pastor Zhang update.

August 28, 2014

China

CHINA

Update below on Zhang.

At least ten leaders from house churches across Hunan province in central China have been detained in what appears to be an ongoing crackdown.

The ten were accused of organising ‘cults’ and ‘sects’ and ‘undermining law enforcement’. They have been criminally detained, which Release partner China Aid says is the first step towards a formal charge which ‘almost inevitably’ leads to a conviction. Four other Christians have been taken to Shaoyang city for a month of ‘compulsory study’.

The arrests have been linked to an incident in which a Christian woman handing out Gospel tracts on the street gave one to a government employee from a local police station. A local Christian said ‘the entire police forced was mobilised’ to round up the Christians; money, Bibles and church equipment were confiscated from homes and churches.

Meanwhile, church demolitions and ‘modifications’ continue in coastal Zhejiang province. Officials removed the cross on Salvation Church in Wenzhou on August 14, after weeks of confrontations between Christians and government demolition teams. And in Zhejiang’s provincial capital, Hangzhou, the large Gulou Church was forcibly demolished on August 13.

(Source: China Aid)

 

  • Please pray for the immediate release of all Christians detained by Hunan officials in the latest crackdown. Pray for an end to Zhejiang officials’ church demolitions and cross removals.
  • Pray that Christians in both Hunan and Zhejiang provinces will know that God is their rock and their deliverer (Psalm 18:2).


NEWS UPDATES:

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Latest: Pastor Zhang has been allowed a Bible! And wife allowed a monthly visit.

Pastor Zhang Shaojie of Nanle County Christian Church in China’s Henan province has lost his final appeal against a 12-year prison sentence for ‘fraud’ and gathering a crowd to disrupt public order’. Pray that Pastor Zhang and his family will know God’s peace: pray too that he will be released early, despite this ruling. (Source: ChinaAid). Pastor Zhang Shaojie has now been in prison for more than a year, having initially been taken into custody on
November 16, 2013. In October last year he was moved from Baiaohe Prison in Neihuang County, Puyang, to Henan
Prison No. 2 in Xinxiang. His family are considering their optons in appealing against his sentence.  

Zhang Cuijuan, sister of Pastor Zhang Shaojie was recently sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison. Her imprisonment is part of the ongoing persecution of Pastor Zhang and the Nanle County Christian Church. 

Aslam Sahotra

 

Christian political leader jailed since March 2015 when two muslims were killed by a mob in retaliation for Taliban suicide bombing of two churches in Lahore. He has been ill in detention. Family receivinbg death threats and demands for money.

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