Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of pastor Saeed Abedini who is serving eight years in prison in Iran for his Christian faith, has said that God has chosen her family and her husband for the ordeal they are going through in order to reach people in despair.
"The Lord has counted our family worthy enough to send Saeed to a dark place that he would be able to share with people who are in complete despair," Abedini said in a testimony to persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern in its April 2014 magazine.
She told the watchdog that while in prison, her husband has seen "so many give their hearts to Christ." more >>
An Iranian Christian prisoner has decided to go on a hunger strike despite suffering from intense physical pain in order to protest the rejection of his conditional release.
"Vahid [Hakkani] has suffered intense physical mistreatment and has been in dire need of medical treatment throughout his detention, and he was transferred to a hospital to receive some necessary treatment," Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern's regional manager for the Middle East, told The Christian Post in an email Thursday. "He and his family have pressured the government to grant him a conditional release so that he can receive the treatment he needs, but the officials have repeatedly denied this request."
Hakkani, who is a Christian convert from the city of Shiraz, was arrested along with three other men in February 2012 and later sentenced to three years and eight months in prison by Iran's Revolutionary Court for attending house church gatherings and contacting foreign Christian ministers, which is forbidden in Iran. more >>
Persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern asked why U.S. President Barack Obama failed to talk religious freedom with Saudi Arabia King Abdullah during his visit last week, after identifying the issue as a key component of U.S. foreign policy at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
"This visit was an excellent opportunity for the president to speak up on an issue that affects millions of Saudi citizens and millions more foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia," said ICC Middle East Regional Manager Todd Daniels in a statement Saturday.
"Only last month the president clearly stated that promoting religious freedom is a key objective of American foreign policy, and then reaffirmed that opinion in remarks following his meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday, according to the White House. On top of this, 70 members of Congress specifically asked him to publicly address the issue, as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah today. How, despite all of this, the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom during his meeting is remarkable." more >>
Syrian Islamist forces have killed Hilal Assad, a relative of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and key commander of the government military forces who was defending the Armenian Christian city of Kassat last weekend.(Photo: Reuters/Hasan Shaaban)Syrian girls hold up signs as Lebanese and Syrian Christian Maronites pray for peace in Syria, in Harisa, Jounieh September 7, 2013. The signs read, "For Syria we pray" (L) and "Syria, the love and peace" (R).
Led by Al-Nusra forces, fighters from Ahrar al Sham, the Islamic Front, and others affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took over the 1,700 person town on Sunday, filled with many believed to be backing President Bashar al Assad in hopes that he could better ensure their safety than Islamist rebels, according to the AP. The victorious rebels walked through the streets shouting and praising Allah, the Christian Broadcasting Network has described. more >>
Washington – A religious freedom-themed panel organized by a liberal group stated Monday that the American left should focus more on the issue of persecution of Middle Eastern Christians.
Experts brought together by the Center for American Progress spoke of the need to spread awareness on the plight of Christian communities in the Middle East. Marwan Kreidie, professor at Villanova University's Center for Arab & Islamic Studies, told The Christian Post that "progressive organizations" have not effectively grasped the religious component of the Middle East.
"The Middle East is all based on sectarianism, so religion is going to be a way of life," said Kreidie, adding that Americans should play "a more dynamic and more thoughtful role" in the region. more >>
A law passed earlier this month seeking to reform Turkey's criminal justice system has allowed five men accused of killing three Christians to be placed under house arrest.
Emre Günaydın, Cuma Özdemir, Hamit Çeker, Salih Gürler and Abuzer Yildirim are suspected of torturing and slitting the throats of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske in Malatya, a city in the eastern part of the country, in 2007. The men were previously placed in prison as they awaited trial, for what are believed to be religiously motivated attacks, as court records have indicated that suspects claimed they were "defending their country and religion, Islam."
In the seven years since the death of the two Turks and one German, the trial has been delayed several times; once when a witness testified that the defendants were also involved in a plot against the government, and several other instances, when prosecution witnesses failed to appear in court. more >>