IRAN: Update on Dual-National Detained for his Christian Activities
Saeed Abedini has been detained since 26 September 2012. In mid-March 2014 he was transferred to a hospital where he received limited medical care but his family were able to feed him, enabling him to gain some weight and regain strength.
On the morning of 20 May a number of intelligence officials arrived unannounced at the hospital. They violently removed Saeed from the hospital, beating him and reportedly giving him an electric shock. He was returned to Rajai Shahr Prison.
This incident follows similar mistreatment of Christian and other detainees within Iran's prison system in recent weeks.
In 2009 Saeed had been warned about his involvement with house churches and so he had focused on humanitarian activities during subsequent visits to Iran. In 2012, while visiting his parents and conducting humanitarian aid, Saeed was detained and in January 2013 he was convicted on charges relating to anti-state activities (which were derived from his involvement with house fellowships) and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. Saeed has joint Iranian-US citizenship; his wife Naghmeh and their two children are in the US.
Source: Middle East Concern
- Pray that Saeed will know the close presence of Jesus each day and that he will experience His healing touch and will receive due medical care.
- Pray the Lord will give Saeed, his wife and their two children courage, patience and the ability to rely on the Lord's good timing and perfect purposes.
- Pray all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him (Micah 6:8).
TANZANIA: Pray for Members of Area's Only Church
A church in the predominantly Muslim area of Mafia, Tanzania, was burned down on Friday 9 May, just hours before a scheduled prayer meeting. Radicals had threatened the pastor, Ombeni Omari, and the church for the past two years.
Pastor Omari, a Christian convert from Islam, escaped to Dar es Salaam with his wife and three children after learning of the attack. He had founded the almost 60-member church, the only Christian church in the area, and nearly all of its members were converts from Islam.
Although the church building was destroyed, Pastor Omari said he will return to the area because the work he was called to is not yet finished.
Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Thank the Lord for Pastor Omari's faithfulness and eternal priorities.
- Pray the congregation will continue to meet together to worship the Lord, fellowship with one another and learn from Scripture.
- Pray the Lord will have mercy on the perpetrators and other Muslims in the area so they too may be drawn to the one true God and worship Him.
KAZAKHSTAN: New Laws Threaten Religious Freedom
New laws with tougher restrictions on religious freedom are currently awaiting approval in Kazakhstan. The laws, which are currently being reviewed with the parliament's Senate, would usher in harsh new punishments that are raising concerns among human rights defenders and religious communities.
Restrictions include up to 60 days of imprisonment for leading religious meetings without state permission, or up to 45 days in jail for attending such an event. At present, these offences are only punishable with fines. It would also become illegal to build places of worship in prisons.
The reported deadline for adopting the new laws is 15 June, with the laws scheduled to come into force as of 1 January 2015.
Source: Forum 18 News Service
- Pray that the authorities in Kazakhstan will seek to uphold and respect religious freedom for all, and that these proposed harsh restrictions will be overturned.
- Ask God to grant wisdom to the church leaders at this time as they navigate these possible changes.
- Pray the Lord will use these apparent hindrances to further His greater purposes for the church as a whole in Kazakhstan.
First posted on Rock and Refuge