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Iranian authorities demand personal details of church members

Country/Region: Iran, Middle East and North Africa

The Iranian authorities have ordered church leaders to submit a list of the names and National ID numbers of their members, in a move that threatens the security of Christian converts.  

People attending the central Assemblies of God church in Tehran on Sunday 6 May were asked to provide their details following pressure from security officials.

This could be a pre-emptive strike by the authorities: gathering information about Christian converts to later monitor their and the church’s activities, or even to arrest individuals.   

Church-in-Tehran_4X3.jpg
Official churches in Tehran
are being harassed by the authorities
Orijentolog / CC BY-SA 3.0

It could also be a further attempt to put pressure on believers to stop them from attending church services. Some of the converts are university students or employed by government-run organisations; being known to the authorities as a Christian or especially a convert would undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on their record and prospects.

The church has been under close surveillance for many years, and a number of its members have been killed.

The Ministry of Intelligence demanded a list of the names and personal details of church members 20 years ago but at that time the leaders refused to comply.

In 2009, the church was banned from holding its services in the Iranian national language, Farsi, on Fridays, a measure that has since been imposed on other churches in the capital.  

And more recently, the authorities have closed down discipleship classes for new Christians run by the church on Saturdays for decades.  

The Iranian authorities are constantly deploying different tactics in their efforts to clamp down on the country’s fast-growing Church.

Security officials attend services at established churches to spy on Christians, and are also believed to have installed hidden CCTV cameras in church hallways.

Their campaign of harassment has forced many Christians out of official churches, but they attend house churches instead; these have been powerful and effective communities for the progress of the Gospel, which the Iranian authorities have been unable to stop. 

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 24 hours ago

  • Pray for Barnabas Aid partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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