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IRAN: Further Court Hearings Scheduled for Rasht Believers

IRAN: Further Court Hearings Scheduled for Rasht Believers

Iranian Christians request prayer prior to a second court hearing for Yousef Nadarkhani, Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi on charges of action against national security.

Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were arrested at a house church gathering in Rasht on 13 May and charged with “action against national security”. They were released on bail after several weeks in detention. Their pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, and his wife, Fatemeh (Tina) Pasandideh, were arrested at the same time but were not detained. However, Yousef was also later charged with “action against national security”. All four were summoned to the Revolutionary Court in Rasht on 15 October, but the judge did not issue a verdict. The second hearing is scheduled for 14 December.

In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. After a court hearing on 10 September, they were each sentenced to 80 lashes, but they are appealing this verdict. The appeal hearing is scheduled for 9 February 2017.

Drinking alcohol is not illegal for Christians in Iran, but under applicable Islamic law it is prohibited for Muslims. The charges brought against Christian converts reflect the state view that a Muslim cannot change his or her religion.

Source: Middle East Concern

Prayer Points

  • Pray they will be acquitted of the charges of acting against national security and the appeal will be successful.
  • Pray the Lord will give His peace to the men and their families and that they will not be anxious.
  • Pray these men will have an opportunity to speak of the Gospel while in prison. May the Holy Spirit be at work in allowing them to boldly share their testimony.
Middle East: We have to be His Witnesses

Middle East: We have to be His Witnesses

Sam’ reaches out to refugees displaced by ISIS from Iraq and Syria. By helping with practical needs – shelter, education, medical aid – Sam and other Christians have the opportunity to share the Gospel and introduce Muslim refugees to Jesus Christ. Such work comes with risk and threats, but Sam tells us that persecution creates “a healthy environment for the Lord to work.” And God is working! Listen as he describes how persecution makes him stronger and where he finds courage to be bold.

Listen to the full interview on VOM Radio here

IRAN: Christians Due to Appear in Court

IRAN: Christians Due to Appear in Court

Four Christians belonging to the self-styled ‘Church of Iran’ network are due to appear in Rasht Revolutionary Court on 15 October charged with “actions against national security”.

On 13 May security agents raided the home of Yousef Nadarkhani, a church leader who attracted international attention after he was charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010. He was eventually acquitted of apostasy charges, but was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for evangelising. He was released on 7 December 2013.

Following this raid in May, Yousef and his wife Tina were arrested along with Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammed Reza Omidi, and their phones, computers and Christian literature were confiscated. Yousef and Tina were released later that day, but Yasser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were detained and interrogated for several weeks before being released on bail.

Yousef, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were charged with acting against national security – a common charge levelled against Christian converts who are recognised as having leadership responsibilities in the Christian community.

In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. They had a hearing on 10 September, but a verdict has yet to be given. If found guilty, they are likely to receive a sentence of flogging (Mohammed Reza received 80 lashes for the same offence in 2012).

Drinking alcohol is not illegal for Christians, but under applicable Islamic law it is prohibited for Muslims. The charges brought against Christian converts reflect the state view that a Muslim cannot change religion.

Source: Middle East Concern

Prayer Points

  • Please pray Yousef, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza will be successfully defended in court, and be acquitted of all charges.
  • Pray the judges and other court officials will act justly and that the money submitted as bail will be safely returned.
  • Pray God will strengthen and encourage faithful Christians in Iran to withstand persecution and act as witnesses for His Gospel.
NORTH AFRICA: Captain on Trial for Murder

NORTH AFRICA: Captain on Trial for Murder

A boat captain faces a prison sentence of up to 90 years after being charged in Spain with the murder of six Christian migrants by allegedly throwing them overboard. According to the indictment against him, the captain and a colleague attacked the six Nigerian Christians because they believed the passengers’ prayers had provoked a storm during the voyage from North Africa.

The inflatable boat had about 50 migrants aboard when it left Morocco in December of 2014 to make the 14-kilometre voyage to Spain. Police state in the indictment that the attackers pulled up slats and beat the Christians, then threw them into the “raging sea” where they were lost. One body was found a few days later off the coast of Granada.

The captain, named as Alain N.B. from Cameroon, has denied all charges. He was one of two men arrested in connection with the incident; the second man died before the start of the trial. Prosecutors in the Spanish city of Almería have requested 15 years for each of the six offences. If convicted of all charges, Alain will be serving 45 of the total 90 years behind bars.

So far this year, more than 300,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe, after fleeing countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria. Another 3,000 died while attempting to make the crossing.

Source: Christian Today

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the grieving families and friends of the six Nigerian Christians whose lives tragically ended while at sea. May they continue to sense God’s comforting presence and strength.
  • Intercede on behalf of the accused captain, pray he may come to the Lord in repentance and receive the Lord’s mercy and salvation.
  • Pray for the protection of all those fleeing strife and unrest. Pray for the nations in the Middle East and Africa ─ for peace, stability, good governance and a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
EGYPT: Christians say they are at ‘Breaking Point’

EGYPT: Christians say they are at ‘Breaking Point’

An imam has been appointed the mediator between Christians and Muslims in an area in Upper Egypt ─ where persecution is most prevalent.

Christians are persecuted by their Muslim neighbours because of their faith in Jesus Christ, enduring humiliation, assault, arson and murder in at least 37 cases over the last three years.

While the government has recently responded with amending the church construction bill, which previously allowed a maximum of two churches to be built per year, little to no legal action is being taken against Muslim perpetrators in the above mentioned crimes.

Relations are very strained and the Christian leadership is partly voicing their concern publicly while others are taking what seems like a more timid approach.

Source: International Christian Concern, New York Times

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Coptic Christians to receive the encouragement and boldness they need to stand firm before their oppressors.
  • Pray for Muslim background believers to share Christ’s love with their families and neighbours. Pray the Lord will unify the church.
  • Pray for a strong and trustworthy government that will act in the interest of all its people.