Voice of the Martyrs - October 19, 2012
1. Christians facing arrests, detentions and court trials in Iran
(Sources: Mohabat News, Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
There has been an alarming upsurge in the harassment of Christians in Iran, with reports indicating an increase in arrests during recent weeks. Three hundred Christians have reportedly been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned in the country since 2010.
Seven Christians were detained during a prayer meeting when security services raided a house in the city of Shiraz in Fars Province. At last report, Mohammad (Vahid) Roghangir, Suroush Saraie, Roxana Forughi, Eskandar Rezaie, Bijan Haghighi, Mehdi Ameruni, and Shahin Lahooti were being held in a detention centre operated by the Intelligence Ministry.
Five other Christians, who were detained in Adel-Abad prison eight months ago following a raid on a house church in Shiraz, faced trial on October 15. Mojtaba Hosseini, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (Kourosh), Vahid Hakkani, Homayoun Shokouhi and his wife, Fariba Nazemian, were charged with creating illegal groups, participating in a house church service, propagation against the Islamic regime, and defaming Islamic holy figures through Christian evangelizing.
Meanwhile, a well-known Christian artist in Iran has been temporarily released from prison and now awaits trial. Vahid Zarday, a Christian convert and awarded music composer, was arrested during a gathering in a house church with his wife and other Christians. He was transferred to Vakil-Abad prison immediately after his arrest -- a prison known for overcrowding, poor hygiene, prisoner humiliation, and group executions.
Please pray that those arrested and facing trial will remember the blessing they will receive for persevering (Hebrews 10:36). Please pray for the release of those imprisoned. Pray that, whether imprisoned or free, they and other believers in Iran will seek to live boldly for Christ and share the Good News with others.
For more on Iran's persecuted Church, go to www.persecution.net/iran.htm.
2. Christians bombed in Indonesia
(Source: Release International)
A Christian's home and a church building were targeted with bomb blasts this month in Indonesia. Explosives were detonated outside a Christian's home and, about an hour later, a bomb exploded outside the Imanuel Church building in nearby Taripa, Pamona Timur. Police said the house targeted in the first attack was that of Okrifil Mamuaya, a Christian working for the local government. No one was injured in the blasts, but the attacks have created fear among Christians who have long endured violence in a region considered a hotbed for Islamist militancy.
Groups such as Laskar Jihad carried out jihad or holy war against Christian communities in the Moluccas and Central Sulawesi between 1999 and 2002. Although a government-brokered truce in 2002 brought tentative peace, sporadic attacks have continued.
Please pray that such violence against Christians will cease in Indonesia. Pray that believers will stand firm in their faith as a testament to God's ability to supply courage in all circumstances (Psalm 27:1). Pray that militant groups in Indonesia would come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Go to www.persecution.net/indonesia.htm for more on persecution in Indonesia.
3. Christians attacked and arrested during baptisms in India
(Sources: Asia News, Global Council of Indian Christians)
About 20 Christians celebrating a baptism were attacked and beaten by Hindu militants before being arrested by local police. The Christians, including 10 believers who were being baptized, were accosted by members of Hindu nationalist groups in the district of Balasore, Odisha (formerly called Orissa) state. The militants burst into the ceremony, beating and insulting the minister, Jayaram Marandi, as well as those gathered. Police then forced the 20 Christians onto a truck to detain them for interrogation.
The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act includes anti-conversion laws that prohibit conversions that occur "through force, coercion or fraud." Since these laws allow the government to conduct investigations into conversions, they are often abused to excuse the persecution of Christians.
Please pray that the believers, including those who were just baptized, will find strength in their identity as God's beloved children (Romans 8:15). Please pray that those who persecute Christians will be brought to justice and that they will receive God's forgiveness and hope.
To learn more about the suffering Church in India, please visit www.persecution.net/india.htm. To post a prayer of encouragement for our brothers and sisters in Odisha state, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
4. Gunmen murder 14 Christians in Nigeria
(Source: Release International)
Militants have killed at least 14 ethnic Berom Christians in raids on villages in Plateau state. Included in those killed were a mother and her three children in Riyom, as well as two half-brothers who were reportedly ambushed in their car and shot dead in Barkin Ladi. A 33-year-old man, Yohana Tengwong, was shot in Barkin Ladi as well.
Please pray that the violence will cease and that peace will envelop the region. Pray that believers under attack or witnessing attacks will be empowered to forgive and embody Christ's merciful love. Pray for wisdom and guidance for Nigeria's leaders and authorities.
For more on Nigeria's persecuted Church, go to www.persecution.net/nigeria.htm.
The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: www.persecution.net