A local source told World Watch Monitor that services at the church, which is led by a convert from Islam, have been interrupted twice in the last few months by a group of people consisting of local officials, representatives of the prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, assistants to the local imam and former colleagues from the school at which the pastor used to teach.
On both occasions, members of the group demanded that the service be stopped and told them: “You will not be able to live and carry out your ministry here.” The church members tried to settle the conflict, but the group continued to issue threats and insults.
The church members then started filming them with their mobile phones, after which the group left the building hiding their faces but saying to the congregation: “We will come here again and again to disturb and persecute you in every possible way,” the source said.
The church has for more than a decade been led by Pastor ‘Miran’. The leadership of the school where he worked threatened to fire him after they learned of his conversion and his role as a church leader. He was also accused of child abuse by the school and jailed for six months. The source said that no lawyer would defend him at his trial because they were afraid of falling foul to the security services, no witnesses were present in court, and the charge against him was not proven. The source said the church felt the allegation was only levelled against him because of his conversion.
Since his release, Pastor Miran, a father of five, has been unable to find paid work. According to a local source, local Muslims say of him: “If Miran could betray his native pure Islam, maybe he could do other bad things too.”
Source: World Watch Monitor