"Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" Isaiah 56:7
Iran: continuing pressure on Churches and Christian leaders
Middle East Concern – http://www.meconcern.org/
Iranian Christians request renewed prayer as the Government's campaign of intimidation against Christians and Churches continues. This campaign is targetted both at the small remaining number of officially recognised Protestant churches, and also against the house church movement.
In early May leaders of the Assemblies of God church in Tehran were ordered by the Ministry of Intelligence to submit the names and ID numbers of all members. The church has long been under close surveillance; the latest order makes it even more difficult for those from Muslim backgrounds to attend the church.
More than 20 believers remain detained across Iran, because of their Christian faith or activities. Those arrested in raids since early February 2012 include five who remain detained in Tehran, five in Shiraz, three in Kermanshah and at least two in Isfahan. Five others in Isfahan were confirmed released in early May, including Hekmat Salimi, the lay leader of St Luke's Anglican Church.
Believers who have been held for more than a year include Noorallah and Farshid who were both arrested in December 2010, and Yousef who has been detained since October 2009 and remains under a death sentence. Behnam, serving a sentence in Karaj since May 2011, continues to suffer ill health.
Iranian Christians supporting these believers thank us for our prayers. They request our continued intercession asking that:
- All Christians in Iran will know the protection of the Father, comfort of the Son and the guidance of the Holy Spirit
- Church and fellowship group leaders would know the Spirit's discernment and wisdom
- All those still detained for their faith will be released soon and, together with their families, will know the peace, presence and protection of Jesus
- All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.
Attacks against Nigerian Christians — third week in a row
Mission News Network – http://www.mnnonline.org
For the third weekend in a row, Christians in Nigeria were targets of deadly violence by Islamist militants. Reports indicate this time at least four people were killed in two separate attacks. These attacks hit the cities of Biu and Jos.
In the first attack, gunmen sprayed bullets as Christians attended church on Sunday in Biu. Four people died while more than 40 others were injured. The second act of violence was a car bombing outside a church in Jos. While nobody died in that attack; dozens were injured.
Africa Director of Christian Aid Mission Rae Burnett says this is just the tip of the iceberg. "There are a lot of reports that aren't getting to the news. A motorcycle rides by and shoots people in the store. Cars are being hijacked. There are individuals — supporters of the work that is being done among the Islamic tribes in Northern Nigeria [being targeted]."
- Pray that God will bind the hands of the attackers.
- Pray that many moderate Muslims will turn to Christ.
Read the full article here
Islam is the official religion in Iran, and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of Shari’a law. There are established churches in Iran including Armenian, Chaldean and Latin-rite Catholic, Armenian, Assyrian and Russian Orthodox as well as Anglicans, Pentecostals and Presbyterians
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There is a wide cultural difference between the Muslim north and largely Christian south. These differences have created tensions, which have escalated into violence and civil war. Northern Nigeria is is number 13 on the Open Doors World Watch List 2012 of the world's worst persecutors of Christians.
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