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Iranian officials recently closed one of only four churches in Tehran that still offered Farsi-language services. On June 5, the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence branch ordered an Assemblies of God (AOG) church to cease all activities and threatened to confiscate church facilities if the church did not comply. Leaders of the church had previously received permission from authorities to use their church building in Tehran’s northwestern district of Janat-Abad to serve Assyrian-background church members. Over time, a Farsi-language service on Sundays began to attract more people. The church began to grow rapidly, which drew the attention of authorities. More than 70 people met for the service every week. Thank God for the spread of the gospel in Iran, and pray that this persecution will purify and strengthen his Church.
Kuwait—Leader Rejects Harsh Religion Bill Sources: International Christian Concern, VOM Canada
Kuwait’s emir has refused to pass a bill previously approved by parliament that would permit the death penalty for Muslims who insult Islam and would harshly penalize Christians and other non-Muslims who insult the religion. The bill, which sought to institute the death penalty for Muslims who insult Allah, the Quran, Muslim prophets, messengers or Muhammad’s wives, passed with an overwhelming majority vote in May. It stipulates a minimum 10-year sentence for Christians and other non-Muslims who insult Islam. Although Kuwait’s leader has the power to veto the bill, the elected parliament can overturn his decision with a two-thirds majority vote. Please pray that the Emir’s decision will win the support of parliament and that this unjust bill will be rejected.
Ethiopia—Released Christian Prisoner Loses Family Source: Compass Direct News
After being wrongfully imprisoned in southern Ethiopia for two years, Christian widower Tamirat Woldegorgis returned home to find his two children, ages 6 and 15, missing. “I have been trying to locate my children, but all in vain,” Tamirat said. “My life is ruined — I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping.” Tamirat thinks local Muslims in his village may have taken his children to limit his influence in the area. He was falsely accused of desecrating a Quran in 2010 after a Muslim co-worker accused him of writing “Jesus is Lord” in a copy of the Quran. Tamirat spent two years confined to a small cell with 50 other inmates even though no evidence against him was ever produced. The harsh prison conditions caused paralysis in one of Tamirat’s legs. He is now staying with a friend in an undisclosed location. Please pray that Tamirat will be reunited with his children and the Lord will use these troubling circumstances as a testament of his faith. Pray that Tamirat will trust that the Lord has plans for him and his family — plans to give them hope and a future.