Persecution Friday: Iran

February 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

 Iran: Seven Christians Released

Seven Iranian Christians were released from prison on bail on Saturday, Jan. 29. Four women were released from Tehran’s Evin prison, and two men and a woman were released in the city of Isfahan three days earlier. The seven spent one month in prison after being arrested along with 31 other Christians on Dec. 26, 2010. Some of the other 31 have since been released. All were arrested simply because they are Christians.

The seven reported they spent 34 days in solitary confinement and endured hours of interrogation. They were tortured psychologically. It is likely that the other 26 Christians still in prison are in solitary confinement and are also facing interrogation.

Two of those who remain in prison are Rasool and Maryam Abdolahi, whose arrests left their two children to live as orphans. While Maryam was able to call her children from prison, the traumatized children have not heard from their father in more than 34 days. All of the other prisoners were able to call their families. Church leaders are extremely worried about Rasool.

Iran Christians
21 of the 33 Christians arrested.
(click to enlarge)

At least 26 other Christians are still in prison, including Yousef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death for apostasy. Two couples, Vahik and Sonia Abrahamian and Srash and Arezoo Kermanjani, have been in prison in Hamadan for nearly four months. Two others, Mojtaba Keshavarz and Shahin Rostami, have been held in Arak for more than three months. Church members are concerned for their health. Sonia is suffering from the poor conditions in prison, and Shahin is diabetic.

The women released in Tehran were Ladan Nouri, Nasrin Hosseini-nia, Anahita Zare and Sara Akhavan. Sara Akhavan’s family gave up their trade license in exchange for her bail, and if authorities decide she has broken bail, the family’s livelihood will be gone. Sadly, the trade license was not valuable enough to secure bail for Sara’s sister, Leila, who remains in prison. Rafi Nadipoor, Basir Amini and Yasaman Yar-Ahmadi were released in Isfahan.

Continue to pray for Christians in Iran, who face extreme pressure under the government’s new policy of “religious cleansing.” “We felt [your] presence alongside us,” said an Iranian Christian who spent months in prison. “Don’t think that your prayers are unimportant.”

Persecution Fridays: Pakistan

December 10, 2010 at 10:07 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Pakistan: Mullah Requests Murder

On Dec. 3, 2010, a mullah in Pakistan offered more than $6,000 (U.S.) to anyone who kills Asia Bibi, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

VOM contacts are concerned for Asia’s safety. In the past, Christian have been killed in jail, on their way to court, and even after being released from jail. “There is threat that she can be killed even after her releasing from the jail,” VOM contacts said. “It’s not just a statement by mulana, but we have examples of previous blasphemy cases.”

Following the mullah’s statement, Muslims, including representatives from extremist groups, protested against Asia and a proposed amendment of the blasphemy law. Protests were held in many major cities in Pakistan.

Asia was arrested by police in June 2009 following an intense discussion between her and her co-workers about their faith. Asia told the Muslim women about her faith in Christ, explaining that he had died on the cross for our sins. Then she asked them what Mohammed had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammed is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan.

Asia was charged with blasphemy, and on Nov. 8, 2010, she was sentenced to death. Pray for Asia’s protection during this tense time. Pray for Asia’s release from prison and for her safety after her release. Ask God to minister to her family, especially her children.


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