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IRAQ: ONE YEAR UNDER ISLAMIC STATE

IRAQ: ONE YEAR UNDER ISLAMIC STATE

On 9 June 2014, Islamic State (IS) militants invaded the ancient city of Mosul in Iraq. All residents who didn't conform to their brand of Islam were given a stark choice: convert, pay a high tax or be killed. Some 120,000 Christians and other minorities fled the city and the surrounding area, and for the first time in 1,600 years there were no church services held in the city.Many families were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, as IS militants stripped them of their belongings as they fled.
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"We hope in the Lord, He will surely send us help"
- Saraswati, Nepalese Christian
 

Sudan: Update - Charges against pastors upheld

03 July 2015 - After a full day of trial on Wednesday 1 July, a Sudanese judge found enough evidence to uphold charges against Sudanese pastors Michael Yat and Peter Yen. They are accused of seven crimes, two of which carry the death penalty. Read more

 

Iran: Homayoun Shekohi released after 40 months in prison

03 July 2015 - Homayoun Shekohi has been released from prison - praise God! Homayoun was arrested on 8 February 2012 in Shiraz as part of a raid on a house church. He and three others were sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison. Homayoun was released on bail on 10 November 2014, but in January 2015 his bail conditions were cancelled and he was recalled to serve the remainder of his sentence, which was due to be completed in October 2015. The three other prisoners were released in December 2014 and January 2015. Read more

 

Nigeria: 'The life of fear and uncertainty is gone'

02 July 2015 - Christians in Nigeria endured enormous hardship last year. Boko Haram militants kidnapped almost 300 girls from Chibok, suicide bombers claimed hundreds of lives, villages and communities were attacked and overrun. An estimated 3 million Nigerians have been displaced through the insurgency in the northeast. Many Christians fled to Jos, the regional capital, only to find themselves without homes or jobs. Open Doors workers helped them to start to rebuild their lives Read more

 

Ethiopia: Prayer meeting attacked, seven injured

02 July 2015 - A mob attacked a prayer meeting in the Gurage Zone in southern Ethiopia on Saturday 20 June, injuring seven people. Five of the seven are still receiving medical care. The attackers cut some Bibles into pieces, looted money and cell phones. They appear to be members of the local community who are offended by the church's evangelistic efforts. The church reported the attack to local law enforcement officials but sources have told Open Doors that 'the officials have so far taken no serious measures to bring the offenders to justice'. Read more

 

Central Asia: 'Delivering Bibles is risky'

01 July 2015 - Alisher* is pastor of a secret church in Central Asia. In his country only one in ten of the population has access to a Bible and religious literature is banned. For five years, Alisher has secretly transported and distributed literature and Bibles. After receiving books from an Open Doors coordinator he secretly delivers books to underground churches in different parts of the country. "I take literature and Bibles to different churches," Alisher explains. "The literature I bring is very diverse and covers different subjects Read more

 

Pakistan: 'I prefer the Jesus story to the ISIS story'

30 June 2015 - Saif*, a young Christian, leads a small community of Christian families in Gujranwala District in Pakistan. "I had no training, but they needed a pastor so I took the lead to serve my people," he says. "I soon realised that I was ill-equipped." Saif started attending the ALIVE Bible School, a training institute sponsored by Open Doors, for Christians who have no formal biblical training. "As my knowledge of God's Word grows, so does my passion to be a good shepherd to my people," Saif says. The people in Saif's town are illiterate Read more

 

Nigeria: Chibok girls 'forced to join Boko Haram'

30 June 2015 - Some of the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014 have been forced to join the group. That's the claim of witnesses speaking to the BBC's Panorama programme. They say that some of the girls are now being used to terrorise other captives, and are even carrying out executions themselves.The reports come from three women who claim they were held in the same camps as some of the Chibok girls. An escapee called Miriam described meeting some of the Chibok schoolgirls, while in captivity. She said they were housed separately from the other captives. Read more

 

Tunisia: Fight against Islamic State 'struggle of our generation'

29 June 2015 - The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has termed the fight against Islamic State (IS) as 'the struggle of our generation'. His comments follow the shooting of 38 people on a beach near Sousse, Tunisia, by a gunman with links to Islamic State extremists. The PM has said: "Our strategy is to build up local armies." Open Doors has been on the ground - working through our own 'local armies' of churches and partners - to provide relief to refugees and those traumatised by war. Read more

 

Sudan: Judge to rule on Sudanese Pastors

24 June 2015 - Thank you all for praying for Pastor Michael Yat and Peter Yen who have been accused of crimes against the state, with two of the crimes carrying the death penalty. A decision on whether they will face trial is expected on 25 June. Open Doors understands that court proceedings continued on 18 June. No new evidence was presented against the pastors, but the prosecution did produce one more witness. They indicated that they intend to produce two more witnesses at the next hearing Read more

 

China: Christians remember Project Pearl

18 June 2015 - It is 34 years today since the night Open Doors delivered a million Bibles to China by boat - a mission known as Project Pearl. Chinese Christians remember that night, and the miracle of receiving their first Bible. Read more

 

Iraq: Victims of rape receive trauma care

17 June 2015 - When Farah* was found on the streets of a Kurdish city, she had nothing but the clothes on her body: a filthy burqa. After being kept as a sex slave by Islamic State (IS) militants, her mental state had deteriorated and it seems the men had lost interest in her and abandoned her. A nun found her talking to herself quietly in the language Christians in the region speak. "I am from a Christian area," Farah had whispered. Read more

 

Sudan: Arrested pastors need our help

16 June 2015 - Please pray for and support two pastors who are in prison in Sudan. Pastor Michael Yat and Pastor Peter Yen Reith are currently being held in prison in Khartoum. Both men belong to the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Pastor Michael was arrested after preaching on 21 December 2014. He and his wife brought their child to Khartoum for medical attention and he was asked to preach at the Evangelical Church of Khartoum in Bahri, which had been partly destroyed by the Sudanese authorities earlier that month. During his sermon he spoke out against the treatment of Christians in Sudan Read more

 

Nepal: Loss and comfort after the earthquake

16 June 2015 - When the earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday 25 April, many Christians were gathered in church buildings, while other Nepalese opened their shops and tended their flocks. The earthquake eventually killed over 8,000 people. "I saw my wife standing shocked, her eyes red. She was tightly holding our two sons close to her. I tried to pull all three of them to safety, but the roof of the building fell, killing all three of them instantly," says Suresh Shreshtha, leader of the Alpha Church in Sindupalchok. He lost his entire family. Read more

 

Ethiopia: Falsely imprisoned believers bring murderer to Christ

16 June 2015 - Three evangelical Christians have been falsely accused of burning down the Ethiopian Orthodox Church building in Gulema Iyesus. Witnesses testified that the men were nowhere near the church when it burned down, but a judge has found the men guilty based on the inconsistent testimony of one prosecution witness. They have one final chance of appeal to the Federal Supreme Court in Addis Ababa on 8 July. 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