Suffering Christians bathe Friday’s elections in prayer

Suffering Christians bathe Friday’s elections in prayer

ICC Note

“Pray for the church in Iran that it remains strong despite the intense persecution. Pray for those who are turning to faith in Jesus Christ from Islam, that they would be strong in the face of almost overwhelming obstacles.”

06/10/2009 Iran (MNN)-The stakes are high in Iran ‘s presidential elections on Friday.

Christians pay a high price in Iran for their decision to follow Jesus. But, Moeller says, hope is not lost. “That does not mean there is not a movement of Christians underground and others who are looking for more freedom. Their hearts are yearning for more freedom. Certainly, Christians are at the forefront of that because they have been the most oppressed.”

What follows are two questions from an interview with Sandra (not her real name), who oversees the work of Open Doors inside Iran .

Q: Apart from the government, who else is a persecutor of Christians?

A: Decidedly Islamic clerics, who stir up hatred against believers in their mosques on Fridays, thus inciting other Muslims. The authorities harass independent or evangelical Christians and MBBs (Muslim-background believers), as well as arrest, interrogate, mistreat and torture them. In addition, relationships with family and friends are essential in the Iranian society. People meet frequently, having some tea together. Devoted Muslims consider Christians unclean; therefore, they do not want to drink tea with them. This isolation, though it does not apply to all Muslims and all Christians, may be a heavy burden. And of course, it is regarded as a disgrace for families if people leave Islam, notwithstanding that Iran is highly secularized. The ‘apostate’ is shunned: husbands divorce their wives, jobs are terminated, and the convert is ostracized by their family as well as society — a harsh punishment for many MBBs. However, if the family members feel the Christian’s new faith is genuine, there is a chance for him or her once again to be accepted by the family. But the main sources of persecution are the government and the secret police.

The Iranian government arrests believers as they commit the “crime” of leaving Islam. According to Islamic law (Sharia), an apostate must return to Islam or die.

Moeller urges you to “pray for the church in Iran that it remains strong despite the intense persecution. Pray for those who are turning to faith in Jesus Christ from Islam, that they would be strong in the face of almost overwhelming obstacles.”

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