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Open Doors News

Middle East: Meeting Jesus during Ramadan

One year, during Ramadan, Mushir was fasting and praying. He was in a room in his home, crying out to God and asking to really know Him. Suddenly a picture fell from the wall and smashed into pieces. It was an old picture with a traditional painting that had been on the wall for years - but behind the original was a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Read more...

 
"The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed"
- Psalm 103:6
 

Ethiopia: UPDATE - Imprisoned believers' hearing TODAY

29 June 2016 - Imprisoned believers Tibebu Mekuria, Dawit Jemberu, and Belete Tilahun, will appear in an Addis Ababa court again today. Belete's father died of an unknown illness in May. Our contacts have told us: "Belete Tilahun has lost his father, an incident which was traumatising for him in jail. Belete's father Tilahun was deeply saddened to see his son sentenced to 9 years back in 2015. He was depressed after attending hearing after hearing at the courts in Debiremarkos." Read more...

 

Syria: Living under the rule of 'Islamic State'

29 June 2016 - Two years ago, on 30 June 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) declared the start of their 'caliphate' in the Middle East. John*, a Christian student in his 20s, lived under the rule of IS in Raqqa, Syria, after paying a special tax to enable him to remain there as a Christian. Read his story of what life is like for Christians living in Raqqa. Read more...

 

Nigeria: Man stabbed for eating during Ramadan

29 June 2016 - On Wednesday 8 June a Christian man was stabbed outside a restaurant in Kakuri, just south of Kaduna city in northern Nigeria, for eating during Ramadan. Francis Emmanuel, a 41-year-old carpenter, went to buy wood from the market. While he was waiting for the wood to be packaged, he visited a nearby restaurant. He says: "I sat outside eating when six Muslim youths approached me. They asked why I was eating (and not fasting). At first I didn't reply, but when they asked if I was a Christian or a Muslim, I said I was a Christian. They got furious and started beating me up." Read more...

 

Vietnam: Hian and Phung released from prison!

28 June 2016 - After exactly a month in prison, Hian* and Phung* were released on 14 June - praise God! The two were arrested in Vietnam and deported to Laos on 14 May for delivering tribal hymnals. All the hymnals were confiscated by the Vietnamese police, except one which was sent to authorities in southern Laos for further inspection. Hian and Phung were kept in different jail cells during their month-long arrest. Read more...

 

Iran: UPDATE - Maryam back in jail despite ill health

28 June 2016 - Despite concerns that she is not yet well enough, Maryam (Naseem) Naghash Zargaran has returned to prison after receiving treatment in hospital. Maryam, a believer from a Muslim background, has been held for nearly three years in Evin Prison in Tehran and has been suffering from a long-standing heart condition. Initially, the prosecutor's office refused to grant Maryam medical leave. However, following the hunger strike, Maryam was granted permission to leave prison on 6 June. Read more...

 

Turkmenistan: How prayers helped Umid during his imprisonment

27 June 2016 - When Umid converted from Islam to Christianity, he wanted to tell everybody about salvation. But in 2012, he was arrested after hitting a neighbour who was attacking him for his faith. In this interview, Umid shares with Open Doors the impact that prayers had on him during his imprisonment and since his release. Read more...

 

Tunisia: What is life like for Christians one year after the Sousse attack?

27 June 2016 - One year on from the dreadful attack on a Tunisian beach on 29 June 2015 which left 38 people dead, the situation has worsened for Christians in Tunisia. Sadly, the four stories below are typical examples of the routine persecution faced by Christians who have converted from Islam.Mohammed* faced attack and rejection from his community when they found out he had converted to Christianity. He says: "My neighbours didn't want to speak to me anymore. One night when I was walking with my friends in the direction of my house, the neighbours started throwing rocks at us. Read more...

 

Iraq: Why Najiba can't go back home

23 June 2016 - The house Najiba fled from is on Iraq's frontline between the Kurdish forces and Islamic State militants. While wild animals wander through her destroyed living room, she is residing in a porta cabin, waiting for the day to return. Despite he losses, she remains thankful and hopeful for the future. Read more...

 

UN reports highest ever level of refugees

21 June 2016 - Take a breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Now think about this, in the time it took you to take that breath, two more refugees fled their homes. According to the latest report from the UN, 24 people become refugees every minute - 'almost double the typical frequency at which adults breathe'. Over 65.3m people were either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced at the end of 2015 - the highest level ever recorded. It seems overwhelming. Suffocating. But we are not powerless. Read more...

 

Egypt: Homes of Christians attacked by angry mob

20 June 2016 - An angry mob attacked a building in Baidaa village near Amria, a small town south of Alexandria, Egypt on Friday 17 June following rumours that it was going to be converted into a church. Hundreds destroyed the local priest's car and stoned houses of local Christians as the mob made its way towards the building which was still being constructed. People shouted angrily: "We don't want a church, we will knock down the church building, Egypt is an Islamic country. Read more...

 

UK: Let's talk about refugees at CLAN Gathering

15 June 2016 - Open Doors in Scotland is delighted to partner with CLAN Gathering 9-14 July to run a series of seminars exploring the role of the church amidst the growing refugee crisis. We'll be in the Freedom Cafe running seminars from 2-3pm each day - we'd love to see you there! For one CLAN Gathering team member, Sarah Borthwick, it was visiting the refugee camps in Calais that gave her a heart for refugees. For Peter Collison, Pastor at Findlay Memorial Church in Glasgow, he found refugees were arriving in his community, and his church had a role to play in providing them with support. Read more...

 

Sudan: Imprisoned pastors bring men on death row to Christ

14 June 2016 - Pastor Michael Yat and Pastor Peter Yen Reith, members of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, were arrested in Sudan at the end of 2014, but released in August 2015 after thousands of people like you prayed and spoke out on their behalf. We were able to speak to them about their experiences of persecution, of leading men on death row to Christ, and the difference it made to have the prayers and support of their brothers and sisters around the world. Read more...

 

Bangladesh: Helping believers to stand strong as persecution rises

14 June 2016 - When Pastor Faruk al Ahmed* learned of the brutal murder of Habib Alam*, he almost couldn't believe it. Faruk knew that Bangladesh was becoming increasingly unsafe for Christians - every month there was an attack by Islamic extremists on minority groups - but never did he imagine that such a fate would come to someone so close to him. Despite the increasing dangers, he is determined to continue sharing the gospel, and Open Doors was able to provide a Standing Strong Through the Storm course for Faruk and members of his church to help them face persecution. Read more...

 

Iran: Mohammedreza Omidi released on bail

10 June 2016 - The third Iranian Christian arrested in Rasht on 13 May has been released. On 31 May Middle East Concern issued a prayer update giving notice that Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie had both been released, but the third Christian, Mohammedreza Omidi, remained in detention. On 7 June Mohammedreza was also released on posting bail. The three men were arrested after security agents raided the home of Yousef Nadarkhani, a church leader who attracted international attention when charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010, although he was acquitted and released in 2013. Read more...

 
"God has called me to stay here and be his witness. I cannot leave the other Christians behind."
- Eun Hee, Christian martyr from North Korea