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Iranian authorities step up anti-Christian campaign in run-up to Christmas

Country/Region: Iran, Middle East and North Africa

The Iranian authorities are stepping up their campaign against Christians in the run-up to Christmas in what threatens to become a repeat of last year’s crackdown when dozens of believers were arrested.

Iranian-Christians-worship-4X3.jpg
Iranian Christians at worship

A number of Christians in Tehran and six other cities have been ordered to present themselves to their local state security centres, where they have been interrogated at length before being sent home with the warning that they will be recalled. 

Meanwhile, police have been gathering information about Christian-owned businesses across the country. A senior general of the Islamic police in Tehran explained:

We must be on guard to find out the reasons behind this massive and country-wide distribution of the Bible. It is obvious that this illegal act could not have been done without the help and cooperation of Christian businessmen, and we are looking for proof of their involvement.

Christmas crackdown

Last Christmas, more than 70 Christians were arrested in a crackdown on Iran’s house church movement; security officers raided homes in Tehran and the western city of Mashhad in the early hours of 26 December while the occupants were asleep.

Many of the Christians were verbally and physically abused before being detained for interrogation. The majority were held for weeks or even months before finally being freed, often after the payment of a large ransom.

Two of those captured, Nor-ol-lah Ghabiti-zadeh from Ahvaz and Farshid Fat’hi of Tehran, remain behind bars despite not having been charged.

Shortly after last year’s Christmas raids, the governor of Tehran Province, Morteza Tamadon, confirmed that a number of Christians had been arrested and described house-church worshippers as “deviants” and “parasites”.

He has reiterated his opposition to evangelical Christians, saying that they will be put under extra pressure and arrested wherever they are.     

Another senior leader, Information Minister Heydar Moslehi, has also recently restated his department’s commitment to crack down on Christians and house churches. He said that the ministry was following the Supreme Leader’s orders to continue its efforts to identify and prevent the spread of house churches in the country.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 15 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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