Updates on the persecuted Church – 24 January 2024

24 January 2024

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Another Iranian Christian convert arrested on 16 January; Church in Wad Madani, Sudan, set on fire and severely damaged on 12 January.

  • Another Iranian Christian convert is being held in an unknown location after being arrested at midnight on 16 January. Plainclothes agents of the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Iman Golzar from his home in Dezful, western Iran and seized his computer and CCTV cameras. His parents, who are both deaf, have been unable to discover his whereabouts. Iman belongs to the same church as Esmaeil Narimanpour, who was arrested on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2023. Pray for the release of both Iman and Esmaeil and that they will both be swiftly reunited with their families.

  • A church in Wad Madani, capital of Gezira State, Sudan, was set on fire and suffered severe damage on 12 January. Church leaders hold the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) accountable for the blaze, given the militia’s control over the city. The RSF has been in control of Gezira State since 18 December 2023 following the withdrawal of the Sudanese army. Rev. Youssif Matar underlined the RSF’s “moral and criminal responsibility for the incident”. The RSF was prominent in the Islamist-led October 2021 coup and has faced accusations of mass killings of civilians in the Darfur region, and it has been responsible for attacks on churches elsewhere in Sudan during the current conflict. The church is the largest in the state and one of the oldest, having been built in 1939. The fire consumed the library which contained historical documents and devastated the main hall. Pray for protection for the Christian community in Wad Madani as they seek to rebuild the church and that believers throughout Sudan will draw strength from the Lord amid the ongoing unrest.

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