2/11/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, February 11, 2021 in a prayer Conference call for the persecuted church.
Iran: Population 83.6 million, Christians: 800,000 plus
The Islamic Republic of Iran is unleashing a sweeping crackdown on Christians, particularly those who have dared to convert from Islam to Christianity.
Most recently, nine Christians in Iran, possibly converts, have been convicted by the Islamic court, and each sentenced to five years in prison. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested them for attending church services at a private house. According to a report by Article 18, an Iranian NGO which promotes religious freedom: “The arresting officers introduced themselves as agents from the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).”They stormed the Christians’ homes in a coordinated operation at around 9am, confiscating Bibles, Christian literature, wooden crosses and pictures carrying Christian symbols, along with laptops, phones, all forms of identity cards, bank cards and other personal belongings.” Arresting agents also searched the work offices of at least two Christians and confiscated computer hard drives and security-camera recordings.”
Christian families are generally dehumanized and humiliated in the community during the agent’s raids. As the Article 18 report explained, “The officers are reported to have treated the Christians harshly, even though small children were present during the arrests.”
Across Iran, Christians are being arrested and jailed on trumped-up charges, such as “promoting Zionism”, “spreading corrupt Christians beliefs”, “propagating against the Islamic Republic in favor of Christianity”, “orientation toward the land of Christianity,” or “endangering national security”.
The claim of Iranian leaders that the peaceful religious practices of a minority group pose a grave a threat to national security is totally unacceptable. Iran’s total population is roughly 80 million, with anywhere between 117,000 and 3 million being Christian, according to various estimates. Even though Christians make up an extremely small part of the population, however, they have always been viewed, under the Islamic law of Iran, as a threat to “national security”.
The activities of Christians in the Islamic Republic are closely monitored by the Iranian intelligence service (MOIS) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG). They are not permitted to share their faith with others or to conduct church services in Farsi, Iran’s national language.
Three of the Islamist judges known to preside over the trials of Christians are Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, Mohammed Moghiseh, and Ahmad Zargar. The international community needs to consider imposing sanctions on them.The NGO International Christian Concern (ICC) submitted the names of these judges to the US Treasury for consideration of sanctions. ICC stated:
“These three Revolutionary Court judges, and Evin Prison, have a long record of human rights abuses toward Iranian Christians. The judges are responsible for convicting Christians on trumped up charges. They wield Iran’s legal system as a systemic tool of repression against religious minorities. Often, when Christians stand firm in their faith, Iran’s judges send them to the notorious Evin Prison, located on the outskirts of Tehran. Stories of those who survived Evin Prison are heartbreaking; the wide variety of abuse faced by inmates is chilling.”
Converts to Christianity from Islam, according to the Iran’s Islamic law, can face the death penalty. The Iranian Islamist judges generally resort to verses from the Quran and Hadith (Muhammad’s sayings and acts) to justify their verdicts. One particular verse in Qur’an states:
“They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)
Even though the international community labels the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a moderate administration, and even though Rouhani claims that the Islamic Republic treats all religions justly and fairly, Iran is one of the worst places in the world for Christians. According to the World Watch List compiled by Open Doors USA, Iran is currently ranked as the ninth-worst country for faith-based persecution. Iran systematically violates the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act and this is why, since 1999, the U.S. has designated the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern.”
Under international law, the Iranian government has an obligation to respect freedom of religion. Yet, while Christians are being increasingly persecuted and their rights are violated in Iran at an unprecedented level, the international community still remains silent.
- Pray for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that He will have an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ and change His ways.
- Pray Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, Mohammed Moghiseh, and Ahmad Zargar,the judges who preside over trials that accuse Christians. That the Lord will touch and convict them.
- Pray for the international media to shine the spotlight on Iran and let the world see how Christians are denied religious freedom and are systematically persecuted.
- Pray for for believers in isolation. Many Christians don’t dare to share their faith with anyone around them, or don’t know any other believers. They depend on online resources to learn more about God.
- Pray for Christians who are currently locked up in prison for their faith. The conditions in Iran’s prisons are very poor and the pandemic has only made the situation worse.
- Pray for those who advocate for the rights of Christians in Iran, both within and outside the country, that they would be listened to and that God would protect them.
- Pray that the NGOs and all the others Organizations to will be protected from the prying eyes of the Intelligence service and the Revolutionary Guards and that they will be not hindered in bringing spiritual and other support to the persecuted.
- Pray to the Lord that believers will continue testify and share the gospel in very difficult circumstances.
- Pray that God would be at work in the hearts of Islamic extremists, take the scales from their eyes and let them be converted.
- Pray for easy access to the internet and that both Believers and Muslims will see messages that encourage and or convict them.
- Pray the Lord will enable Christians to forgive their persecutors.
- Pray to the Lord that the astounding growth of Christianity will continue and that He will thwart the efforts of the forces of darkness.
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for their release
- Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
- Pray Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.
- For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.
The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.
With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.
If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.
Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.