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Open Doors News

Iraq: Rebuilding Hope in Karamles

"After the liberation in October we found out that Islamic State had burned our house. I was very sad when I saw it for the first time," says Noeh. Noeh is 12 years old - his family fled their home in Karamles, Iraq, when he was just nine, to escape the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). "My Mum and Dad, my brothers and sisters were always around me, and they helped me to overcome the difficulties."

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

Iraq: Christians fear referendum vote will bring more violence

25 September 2017 - Less than a year after Mosul and the Nineveh Plains were liberated from self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), Christians in Iraq fear a new wave of violence might be about to begin. The cause of their anxiety is the highly controversial independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq which takes place today (25 September). Iraq's prime minister has called the referendum 'unconstitutional', while a 'no for now' movement says it's wrong given the current fight against IS. For their part, Christians in the disputed Nineveh Plains fear that the referendum will spark new violence in the recently liberated area Read more...

 

Iraq: Christian children return home to Karamles

21 September 2017 - Christian children and their families have started to return to their homes in Karamles, Iraq, after the village was liberated and self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) were defeated in nearby Mosul. Among the first to return was 12-year-old Noeh and his sister, Salina, seven. Noeh's house was completely destroyed by IS militants so the family is staying in his aunt's house. "After the liberation in October we found out that Islamic State had burned our house. I was very sad when I saw it for the first time," says Noeh. Read more...

 

Kazakhstan: Worship banned in two churches

15 September 2017 - Courts in Kazakhstan have banned two churches from meeting for worship. A court in Almaty - the largest city in the country - fined the Protestant Source of Life Church and banned it from 13 April to 12 July because it had been meeting in a venue away from its registered address, even though the church had informed the authorities. An official from the Religious Affairs Department said they will 'fine them again' if the church continues to meet. Meanwhile in Oskemen, eastern Kazakhstan, the New Life Protestant Church was banned from meeting for three months because its members sang religious songs at a summer camp Read more...

 

Tajikistan: Pastor faces three years in prison after appeal fails

15 September 2017 - Please remember Tajik pastor Bahrom Holmatov in your prayers. In April 2017, Pastor Holmatov was arrested and imprisoned for three years on false accusations of 'singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred'. An Open Doors Letter-writing campaign has been started to encourage him while waiting for an appeal to be heard. After initially being postponed, the appeal was heard recently and, sadly, the original decision was upheld. Bahrom now faces three years in prison for nothing more than exercising his right to believe Read more...

 

Iraq: Church leader optimistic despite upcoming referendum

12 September 2017 - The Archbishop of Mosul Yohanna Petros Mouche has said he is 'very optimistic' about the future of the church in Iraq, despite the uncertainty created by the upcoming referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. The referendum is due to take place on 25 September. The Archbishop said, "It is not clear what the future will look like. We have this issue between the Kurdish and Iraqi governments. We don't know what the outcome of a referendum will mean for the Christians and for other minorities." Read more...

 

Kenya: Three Christians beheaded on Somali border

12 September 2017 - Three Christians were beheaded on Wednesday 6 September by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu West, near Hindi. At about 1.30am, a group of around 30 men, armed with AK-47 rifles, surrounded homes in Bobo village and called out the names of the three non-Muslim men, according to local sources. When the men came out, the assailants ordered them to show their ID cards, before beheading them. The three victims were all Christians. Gerald Wanjohi was one: his wife Catherine climbed onto the roof when the attackers broke down their door Read more...

 

Lebanon: Back to school for Syrian refugee children

06 September 2017 - "I want to be a civil engineer, I want to help to reconstruct my country," says 13-year-old Farouq*, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon. He missed years of school when his family fled to Lebanon to escape the war, making his dream of becoming a civil engineer seem impossible. But thanks to the support and prayers of people like you, Farouq is now attending a school being run by a church in east Lebanon with support from Open Doors partners. Read more...

 

Bangladesh: Open Doors provides life-saving aid to flood survivors

06 September 2017 - Open Doors partners have distributed relief to nearly 250 families - believers from Muslim or Hindu backgrounds - in three districts in Bangladesh following last month's devastating flood. Hundreds died and nearly 300,000 people have been displaced across Bangladesh in the wake of the disaster. Christians who had lost everything said that they faced discrimination over aid distribution. Thankfully, with this support, over a thousand believers will be receiving life saving food aid. Read more...

 

North Korea: 'Never before have I seen so many North Koreans come to faith'

05 September 2017 - "The spiritual battle always intensifies when God is doing something amazing." These are the words of an Open Doors contact who has worked with North Korean refugees in China for many years. He has asked us to pass on this message to all those who pray for North Korea and ministries like his. Read more...

 

Myanmar: Prayer request for Rohingya people fleeing fierce violence

04 September 2017 - 'Friends, we ask for your prayers for the Rohingya Muslims and Christian converts who are in great distress in Myanmar,' writes an Open Doors contact in South East Asia.In recent weeks, the Rohingya people - a Muslim-minority group containing Christian converts living in Rakhine State - have suffered fierce attacks from the Burmese military and Buddhist neighbours. Villages have been burnt, people raped and scores killed in violence, causing as many as 87,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. Read more...

 

Iraq: Christian woman released after three years in captivity

30 August 2017 - Three years after being captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), Rana Esso, a Christian woman, has been released! She returned home to her family in Qaraqosh on Monday 28 August. She was liberated in the suburbs of Tal Afar in north west Iraq. Video footage on social media show Rana's return being celebrated by a cheering crowd, with local music and dance of Christians in Qaraqosh. A local contact of Open Doors says, "All Qaraqosh people were celebrating her release!" Three Yazidi women were also released with Rana, though very little information is known about them currently. Read more...

 

Iran: Songs bring encouragement to young secret believers

29 August 2017 - Both Bibles and Christian youth meetings are forbidden for ethnic Persians in Iran, but this hasn't stopped young Iranians from hearing God's Word. Recently, a group of new believers secretly met in a Middle Eastern country to take part in discipleship seminars, talk about persecution, and, importantly, worship freely together. "When we worship together, I really feel like my relationship with the Lord is renewed," says Mozhgan*. Read more...

 

Syria: 'God has sent you from heaven' say Aleppo families

25 August 2017 - In Syria, while some have been able to repair their homes and start small business in areas that have become more stable, thousands remain in great need as the war continues. Your prayers and support are enabling Open Doors' partners to provide 15,500 Syrian families with food packs and hygiene kits. Samer's* family is one of those receiving food through a local church that Open Doors partners with in Aleppo. He has a job, but still struggles to support his family. "My salary is too low," Samer explains. "I have a salary of about 60 US dollars a month. Half of it goes to the home rent." Read more...

 

Iraq: Rebuilding Hope in Karamles

25 August 2017 - Noeh is just 12. He says that God gives him the hope that he will be able to return to Karamles, a town destroyed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. "I feel the Holy Spirit inside me... He tells me it is good to live in Karamles again." Of the 797 houses in Karamles, 97 are now piles of rubble, 446 were completely burnt out, like Noeh's, and the others are damaged. Your prayers and support have enabled our local partners to repair 30 homes in Karamles so far, with 20 more on the list. 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