Christians in Iran continue to be arrested, following a major crackdown on believers over the New Year period. Christian leaders in Iran have said that the recent situation is particularly severe. Christians are often charged with being a 'threat to national security', when in reality all they are doing is running house churches and sharing their faith with Muslims from their communities.
Christians in Iran continue to be arrested, following a major crackdown on believers over the New Year period.
In January, Sina Moloudian (26) was violently arrested in his house. Sina was reportedly told that he had been 'under surveillance for months'.
The same week, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad (64) was also arrested. A follower of Christ for 40 years, he is no stranger to persecution. Ismaeil has contacted his family, but he does not know where he is being held, nor on what charges.
Iranian Christians have also requested prayer for Simin Soheili and Yaser, two converts who have been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison since the end of January. Simin has been informed she will be charged with disturbing public order, propagating Christianity and connecting with foreign entities. She is facing a ten-year prison sentence.
Yaser, who is not related to Simin, has a teenage son with severe physical disabilities.
Iranian Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran spent four years in Tehran’s Evin Prison for 'violating national security'. Open Doors held a worldwide letter-writing campaign for her during her time in prison, but most of the letters were withheld from her. When she was released she was finally able to read your encouraging words!
Open Doors advocates for those who are imprisoned for their Christian faith in Iran and organises trauma care conferences for former prisoners who now live in Turkey. Thanks to your support, over 30 ex-prisoners from Iran received trauma-care training last year.
"It was a joy for me to be part of the training," says former house church leader Wahid, who now pastors a church of 200. "As a former prisoner, I have often felt alone, and thought nobody cared about me. This training proved me wrong.
"In daily life I find it difficult to talk about my time in prison, it’s a horrible story. And, as a leader, it’s a big temptation to pretend you are stronger than you actually are.
"In the training, I met people who went through the same experience as me. We understood each other, and we learned from each other. I cried a lot, but I was also comforted a lot. To heal from my experience is a painful process. Some wounds are healed, others not yet. But, with the experiences and teaching at the training event, I have become stronger as a leader."
"The training has offered me long-lasting refreshment," shares former house church leader, Saman*. "My friends say I have become stronger since I attended.
"I’m still talking with God about my future. It is in His hands. I would most prefer to go back to Iran and serve the Lord there. But there is a prison sentence waiting for me. I would be willing to do it, but I know it would destroy my mother to know I was in prison. It's a difficult choice. Maybe God is teaching me something here that I can use when I am back in Iran."
*Name changed for security reasons
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