// News and Events


Sign up to Open Doors Email

Receive the latest news, updates and prayer requests from the persecuted church direct to your inbox.

Sign up today

 

Persecution News

HOPE AT CHRISTMAS: HOW YOU ARE BRINGING NEW LIFE TO SYRIA

Meet Pastor Abdalla - a local church partner of Open Doors in Aleppo, Syria. He has courageously stayed in his city throughout the war to lead his church and serve his community. “We are beginning to rebuild everything,” he says. “Even though the damage is big and huge, it is obvious to everyone there that life and reconciliation is coming back to Aleppo.”


Read more...

 

 
"Prayer and giving money often feels like it is too easy, but it's not! It is making a huge difference in places like this"
- Lydia, Open Doors representative visiting Erbil, Iraq
 
  • How will Christians in Iraq celebrate Christmas?

    12 December 2018 -

    All over Iraq, Christians will celebrate Christmas with big fires, midnight masses, gifts, decorations and, of course, all kind of meals. Like most Christians around the world, the majority of Iraqi Christians also celebrate Christmas on 25 December, though some Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January according to the Orthodox calendar. Open Doors asked a Christian woman, Areen*, to describe how Christmas is celebrated in Iraq. 

    Read more
     
  • Powerful self-portraits bring stories of persecuted women to UK leaders

    07 December 2018 -

    Esther was a teenager when Boko Haram militants attacked her town in Nigeria. She was abducted and forced to marry one of the extremists. She eventually managed to escape, and Open Doors partners have been providing her with practical support and trauma care. But she is just one of many Christian women in Nigeria who are facing horrific levels of persecution because of their faith and their gender. Who will hear their stories? And who will act on their behalf? Amazingly, Esther’s story is going from her small town to the people of power within the UK government and the UN – the people who could bring about real change for our sisters in Nigeria.

    Read more
     
  • China: Despite opposition, missionaries persevere through burnout and marriage pressures

    06 December 2018 -

    For more than 30 years, the world has marvelled at the phenomenal Christian revival taking place in China, sometimes at seemingly break-neck speed. There is little doubt that much of this astonishing growth and outpouring of God’s Spirit was made possible by the sacrifice of many faithful martyrs. But there is another group of Chinese believers who have also sacrificed much, an often invisible but courageous group of believers who have played a critical role in church growth – China’s domestic missionaries. 

    Read more
     
  • 100 Christians arrested in Iran in one week - what does this mean for the underground church?

    06 December 2018 -

    Over 100 Christians have been arrested in Iran in the past week and nearly 150 in the past month, as part of the government’s attempt to ‘warn’ Christians against sharing the gospel over the Christmas period. This comes at the end of a year when dozens of Christians have been arrested, and some have been sentenced to strikingly high sentences. Iran is an Islamic Republic, and leaving Islam to follow another faith is illegal. Sharing the gospel with a Muslim, owning a Bible in the Farsi language, or leading a secret church meeting for believers from Muslim backgrounds are all punishable offenses. Believers from Muslim backgrounds make up the biggest group of Christians in Iran – but they must keep their faith completely secret. We spoke to several experts and some Christians in the country to find out more about how these arrests are affecting Iran’s secret church.

    Read more
     
  • Iran: Secretly celebrating Christmas for the first time

    05 December 2018 -

    Can you imagine what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in secret? No tree, no decorations, no carol service.

    Twenty-one-year-old Nava* is an isolated believer from a Muslim background from Iran, who celebrated Christmas for the first time last year.

    "From the outside, it was nothing special," she recalls. "It was just me, my mother and my little brother sitting at the dinner table, like we do each night. But this night, somehow automatically, I put down a fourth plate: for Jesus."

    Read more
     
  • Syria: 'The message of Christmas can be the answer to our pain'

    28 November 2018 -

    As Christmas gets closer, Christians all around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the church in Syria is no exception. Pastor Edward from Damascus shares how Syrians are preparing for their Christmas celebrations and how he wants to focus on the real message of Christmas.

    "Christmas is a challenging thing," he says. "Now people want to express their joy and they want to celebrate Christmas in a very big way. It's a challenge, because sometimes it really distracts people from what Christmas is really about. The people want to have parades, they want to have Santa Claus, they want to have big parties – especially now, after the difficult years.

    Read more
     
  • Tune into TWR this winter for a deeper look at the World Watch List

    27 November 2018 -

    Tune in to TWR for a 13 part series looking at the countries on the Open Doors World Watch List and the challenges facing our brothers and sisters in these nations.Each episode details a country where faith in Jesus is costly and features stories and interviews with Open Doors partners and staff.

    Read more
     
  • Iran: Two Christians arrested after calls intercepted by authorities

    21 November 2018 -

    Behnam Ersali and Davood Rasooli, both Christians from Muslim backgrounds from Karaj, northeastern Iran, were arrested just before the weekend. They had arranged to meet in Mashhad, 946km from Karaj, but it is thought that Iranian intelligence found out about their meeting by intercepting their calls.

    Read more
     
  • Secret faith, surviving imprisonment, and standing firm in North Korea: Hannah's story

    19 November 2018 -

    Hannah’s* mother was a secret believer, but Hannah didn’t know much about her faith when she was growing up. All Hannah knew was that her mother was always praying to someone she called ‘Hanonim’ – which means ‘Lord’. Eventually, Hannah was able to hear the gospel, and decided to follow Jesus too – but her faith came at a price. Hannah will be joining us at our Standing Strong celebrations in November - come and hear her tell her story!

    Read more
     
  • 25-year-old believer from Kyrgyzstan beaten for refusing to deny his faith

    14 November 2018 -

    A 25-year-old believer from a Muslim background from Kyrgyzstan has been beaten for refusing to deny his faith. Eldos Satar Uluu was home alone when three men broke into his house. "They began hitting him and kicking him until he fell on the floor. They shouted at him that he is a ‘kafir’ (infidel), and that he had betrayed Islam. Then they kicked his head while on the floor, breaking several of his front teeth and his jaw-bone," a neighbour has said.

    Read more
     
  • Blasphemy law fears for Bangladesh

    08 November 2018 -

    As protests continue over the release of Asia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister has pledged that anyone who offends Islam or its prophet will be taken to court.

    Read more
     
  • Christians in Pakistan ask for urgent prayer as Asia Bibi leaves prison

    08 November 2018 -

    An Open Doors local partner in Pakistan has sent us a message asking for urgent prayer for Asia Bibi, her family and those who are working for her protection and freedom.

    Read more
     
  • Lessons from the persecuted church part three: Making Jesus your all

    08 November 2018 -

    Cris Rogers, Rector of All Hallows Bow in London, recently travelled to Lebanon to meet Open Doors' local church partners who are serving Syrian refugees. In his final reflection, Cris shares what he has learned from our persecuted church family about encountering Jesus and making Him our all.

    Read more
     
  • Lessons from the persecuted church part two: Unexpected gifts

    07 November 2018 -

    Cris Rogers, Rector of All Hallows Bow in London, recently travelled to Lebanon to meet Open Doors' local church partners who are serving Syrian refugees. Here he shares what he learned from our church family about persecution, prayer and prosperity.

    Read more
     
  • Lessons from the persecuted church part one: Forgiveness

    06 November 2018 -

    Cris Rogers, Rector of All Hallows Bow in London, recently travelled to Lebanon to meet Open Doors' local church partners who are serving Syrian refugees. In this short video he explains why this is so surprising, and what we can learn from the church in Lebanon about forgiveness.

    Read more
     
  • Asia Bibi’s life in danger as deal is struck to prevent her leaving Pakistan

    05 November 2018 -

    The Pakistani government has announced an agreement with the extremists responsible for protests across the country since Asia Bibi was cleared of blasphemy. The government has promised not to oppose the petition for a legal review of Asia’s acquittal and that her name shall be added to the Exit Control List, which contains the names of people not allowed to travel outside the country. The government also pledged to take action against the possible deaths of protesters and that all people arrested because of the protests will be immediately released. Meanwhile, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP, the party responsible for instigating the protests) said it would call its supporters to cease the demonstrations and apologise to those who experienced ‘inconvenience’ because of the protests.

    Read more
     
  • Home at last: An update from Noeh and Father Daniel in Iraq

    05 November 2018 -

    For the first time in five years, Noeh will be celebrating his birthday with his family in his own home in Karamles, Iraq, this year. He turns 13 on 7 November.. Noeh says, “I am very happy now that our house is reconstructed well. I feel great happiness, because I am in the house I used to live in before ISIS.” Meanwhile, Father Daniel was pleased to hear of the changes that the Prime Minister has made following their meeting, but he says that more still needs to be done in order for Christians and other minorities to be treated as equals in Iraq.

    Read more
     
  • At least seven Christians killed in bus attack in Egypt

    02 November 2018 -

    At least seven Christians have been killed and nine injured in an attack on a bus convoy in Minya today. Armed terrorists opened fire on two buses as they were leaving Saint Samuel’s monastery.

    Read more
     
  • Heartaches, healings and high hopes: An interview with a Christian mother in India

    01 November 2018 -

    Jaanvi* doesn’t know exactly how old she is - she thinks maybe 37 or 38. She’s married and has four children. She lives in a village with about 500 houses – but no church building. There are just four other Christian families in her village. She’s seen God work in amazing ways, but she has also faced rejection and anger from her neighbours because of her faith. She tells us her story.

    Read more
     
  • Asia Bibi declared innocent by Pakistan court

    31 October 2018 -

    The Pakistani Supreme Court has ordered the immediate release of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who has spent over 8 years on death row.

    According to the official ruling, prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The judges quoted extensively from the Quran and other Islamic scriptures, saying among other things that non-Muslims were to be dealt with kindly.

    "We are relieved to hear that the Pakistani Supreme Court has dropped the charges against Asia Bibi—charges that were based simply on her Christian identity and false accusations against her," an Open Doors spokesmen said. "This decision gives us hope that Pakistan will take additional steps to increase freedom of religion and human rights in the country."

    Read more
     
  • They've faced Islamic State, war and displacement - but these women aren't giving up hope for Syria

    29 October 2018 -

    Meet Shiveen, Mahera, Ibtihaj, Hala and Fatan. Before the war in Syria, these women were business owners. Hala had a sewing factory for 25 years. Ibtihaj had a tiling factory. Shiveen had a computer outlet. With the outbreak of war, they all had to flee their homes to escape the violence, leaving behind everything they had worked so hard for. But these are highly skilled and capable women - and they haven’t given up hope, for themselves, their families or their country. Fatan says, “With the help of God, Syria will be all right again.”

    Read more
     
  • Hope at Christmas: How you are bringing new life to Syria

    28 October 2018 -

    Your support and prayers are keeping hope alive for our brothers and sisters in Syria, and helping the church to continue to shine as a light in the darkness. Pastor Abdalla says, “During the crisis we saw the church worldwide act like one family, supporting us, praying for us, helping us. That made a difference.” 

    Read more
     
  • Egypt: Pray for Samiha as she goes for surgery

    25 October 2018 -

    Thanks to your prayers and surppot, Samiha, who lost half her face in a church bomb attack in 2016, has just arrived with her husband in Germany for restoration surgery.

    Read more
     
  • Nigeria: Boko Haram kills another aid worker and threatens to keep Leah Sharibu and others as slaves

    16 October 2018 -

    Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP, a faction of Boko Haram) has executed another Red Cross worker, Hauwa Leman. They have also threatened to keep Leah Sharibu as a slave for life along with Alice Ngaddah, a Christian who works for Unicef. “From today,” ISWAP said, “Sharibu, 15, and Ngaddah are now our slaves. Based on our doctrines, it is now lawful for us to do whatever we want to do with them.” 

    Read more
     
  • After ten years in prison on false charges, seven Indian Christians still await appeal

    15 October 2018 -

    In August 2008, a prominent Hindu leader was killed by a mob. Even though Maoist terrorists claimed responsibility for the murder, a rumour circulated that Christians were responsible. Seven Christians were arrested and eventually found guilty of murder. Despite significant evidence that they had nothing to do with the attack, Gornath Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Sanseth, Durjo Sunamajhi, Bhaskar Sunamajhi, Budhadeb Nayak, Munda Badamajhi and Sanatan Badamajhi were sentenced to life imprisonment.

    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