Monday, November 01, 2010

Two countries where it is not safe to be Christian

Reports from Barnabas Fund.

A case of blasphemy has been registered in Pakistan against a Christian family. Yousaf Masih and his wife, their son-in-law Zahid and two other men have been included in the charge.
Yousaf, his wife and his daughter are illiterate and very poor and were living in a rented house. When they moved in, the toilet room had no roof, so a relative gave them a sheet of plastic to use. In early July, a group of Muslim neighbours noticed that the plastic sheet had words from the Qu’ran written on it. A dispute ensued between Yousaf’s relative and their neighbours, and a mob gathered near the Christians’ house, demanding their immediate arrest for “disgracing verses of the Qu’ran”. The family fled from their home, fearing violence.
Pray for Yousaf Masih and his family, especially those who have been arrested. Pray that the Lord will grant them His protection. Pray too that the case against them will be dropped. The punishment specified in the Pakistan Penal Code for defiling, damaging or desecrating the Quran is life imprisonment.

Pray for Christians in Pakistan, who suffer so much under the “blasphemy laws”. Pray that there will be a change in the attitudes of the authorities so that these laws will no longer be used to settle scores against Christians.

A Christian convert in Iran has died from injuries received when he was badly beaten by a relative. Middle East Concern has reported that the beating occurred because the relative disapproved of the man’s decision to leave Islam and follow Christ.
There have also been a number of reports of Christians being detained in Iran and one story of good news for a Christian released from prison in October.
In July 2010, a group of 15 Christians were arrested in Mashhad while on their way to spend time with fellow believers. Most of the group were released after a week, but according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) three Christians remain in detention, charged with apostasy. It has been reported that families of those detained have been told they “must persuade their loved ones to renounce their Christian faith and embrace Islam once again”.
A church leader in Ahvaz remains in detention following a raid on his home in late July; his condition is unknown. His wife and 6-year-old daughter were also arrested but were released after several hours of interrogation. A group of nine Christians were arrested in September and charged with carrying out evangelism in Hamedan, as reported by Iranian state television.
Tina, the wife of an Iranian pastor, was arrested on 8 June and sentenced to life in prison in August, but following an appeal she was released on 11 October. Her husband, Yousef, was arrested on 12 October and he was still in detention at the time of writing.
Pray for the bereaved family of the Christian who died as a result of his injuries. Pray that his wife and children will know the peace and comfort of the Lord. Pray too for the relative who carried out the beating, that he will come to know Christ.

Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are still in prison, that they will know the presence of Jesus.

Praise the Lord for Tina’s release, but please pray for her husband, that any charge against him will be dropped and the family will be reunited.

Pray that Christians in Iran will not be intimidated by the harassment and arrests and that they will continue to stand firm in their faith.

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