by Aidan Clay
Saudi men have been imprisoned and suffered lashings for converting a woman to Christ
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that two men accused of helping a young woman flee Saudi Arabia after her conversion to Christianity were sentenced to prison terms and lashes with a whip by a Saudi court on Sunday. The case comes weeks after an independent U.S. government advisory body listed Saudi Arabia among the top violators of religious freedom.
A Lebanese Christian man was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes and a Saudi man was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes by a court in Khobar, a city in eastern Saudi Arabia, for their involvement in a Saudi woman’s conversion to Christianity and her escape abroad, Reuters reported. The men, who worked with the young woman known as Maryam at an insurance company, were arrested last July after a complaint was filed by her father. Maryam fled to Sweden several months ago and is reportedly applying for asylum.
By Corey Bailey
Hope in the darkness
Masud grew up in a strict Muslim home in a remote part of Bangladesh. Not only was his family strict, but his father was also an Imam.
Masud grew up with full knowledge of the Quran and considered himself to be a radical Muslim. As he grew, however, he began to wonder about the Jesus he read about in the Quran and asked his father many questions: “Who is Jesus? Is the Quran true? Is the Bible true? The Quran says we must study all the books that came before the Torah. Why don’t we study these?
By Jerry Dykstra
“We will all pray together in Syria, but we need every Christian in the world to pray. Please pray that the problems will come to an end and those causing the problems will stop. Pray that Syria will find Jesus.” –Open Doors contact in Damascus.
According to a press release by Open Doors, a day of prayer for Syria has been set up for Saturday, May 11th, for Believers everywhere to join in prayer with the Christian Church within Syria.
By Mark Ellis
In an unnamed Middle East country, Sue has been studying Arabic four days a week with one of her husband’s friends. A silly misspelling during one of her sessions launched a thought-provoking spiritual conversation.
As Sue practiced writing her name under her instructor’s watchful eye, she stopped when it became clear she made a mistake.
A large number of “prisoners of conscience” are currently being held in Iranian prisons, including some Christians, without anyone being aware of their situation.
This claim was made by the Iranian Christian News Agency, Mohabat News, who have reported that the Bahar daily paper, affiliated with Iranian reformist parties, have published an interview with Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former Iranian president, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
“This was the first published interview with her after her release from prison,” said Mohabat News.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
The following are prayer points and a prayer for Israel, from “Christian Friends of Israel” based in Jerusalem:
1. Pray for God to continue to perform His Word and to bring it to pass as He has already told us it will definitely be. Pray that His Messiah/Son will be revealed in order that an immeasurable number from the nations of the world will see who He is.
2. Call out to God for many souls of the nations, for a humbling of their spirit before the One True God of Israel, the Almighty is his Name–the Great I AM. There is no other God like Him. He is the King of the Universe and all knees will bow before Him (Philippians 2:10) even if their wills are very stubborn and evil.
The Kurdish news agency, Rudaw, reported on April 1, that a Muslim leader had converted to Christianity in Dohuk. Confirming this news, an official in the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of Iraqi-Kurdistan said that the Fatwa Committee in their ministry do not execute those who convert from Islam to any religion. This report was reflected in the Iranian media as well.
The news website “Bultannews,” affiliated with the Iranian Intelligence services, reported that a daughter of another Muslim leader in Erbil, Iraqi-Kurdistan, also converted to Christianity with her husband. The news site wrote: “For some time now through the work of the missionaries in Iraqi-Kurdistan, a number of people are changing their religion in exchange for material gifts, and convert to Christianity”.
The report continued, “The government of Iraqi-Kurdistan is not reacting to the activities of missionary organizations, and as a result Christian converts have been able to hold four conferences in that area”.
Christians are being persecuted all over the world every day
In an effort to increase awareness and to end the plight of the persecuted church, Blaine Scogin of Persecution Watch is using conference calls as a means of praying for tortured and imprisoned believers.
Few are aware there is a lack of religious freedom for 73% of the world’s population, with 200 million Christians living in restricted countries.
Scogin would like to change that. Two years ago, when he did a “Google” search for a conference call prayer group for the persecuted church, he found nothing. Then the Lord impressed on his heart, What are you going to do about it?
By Wendell Evans
Kabyle Berber village
Edited by Mark Ellis
Mohand grew up in an Algerian mountain village among the Kabyle Berber tribe. His family were devout Muslims. After his father passed away when Mohand was young, his mother responded with a dose of Muslim fatalism, saying, “It is the will of Allah; He has done it. We can only accept it.”
In Mohand’s preadolescent mind, this meant Allah killed his father, so he grew up hating God. Whenever the name of Allah was mentioned, it evoked the death of his father. Like so many others of the Berber tribes, he also grew up hating Arabs, because they conquered his country and imposed their rule many centuries earlier.
by Erin Roach
Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent imprisoned in Tehran, tells of the torture he has endured for his faith as well as the joy that comes with forgiving his perpetrators in a letter to his family released by the American Center for Law and Justice, dated March 22. The letter comes one day after a U.S. State Department official finally mentioned Abedini’s case before a global audience, and called for his release.
Abedini’s ordeal is happening during a period of numerous arrests of Iranian Christians, according to Morning Star News. The increase in arrests, the news service said, is likely related to the upcoming presidential elections. Christians in Iran, according to World Watch Monitor, are routinely arrested and interrogated because Iranian authorities view Christianity as a deviant anti-government movement, and Christians as pawns of the West. Continue reading