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Open Doors News

Iraq: Stone factory brings hope as battle for Mosul continues

As Iraqi forces continue the battle to retake Mosul, 25 miles away from the city a stone factory has been opened with the support of Open Doors to bring hope and employment to local people. The factory employs 50 people who worked in Mosul before the city was taken over by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). Many of the families in the surrounding villages have been skilled stone cutters for generations, and worked as stone cutters in Mosul. When they could no longer work there,

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"The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed"
- Psalm 103:6
 

Tajikistan: Christian released from prison, another beaten

23 February 2017 - Sahat*, a Christian who was arrested after sharing the Bible with a member of the security services, has been released.However, the situation remains serious. His laptop and flashcard containing Christian materials and some printed Christians materials he owns have been confiscated, and are being looked at by the security services. They may find reason to imprison him again, along with other Christians he knows.Churches monitored, Christian beatenOn Sunday 19 February officers from the security services visited church services in two towns in Tajikistan. Read more...

 

Iraq: Stone factory brings hope as battle for Mosul continues

22 February 2017 - As Iraqi forces continue the battle to retake Mosul, 25 miles away from the city a stone factory has been opened with the support of Open Doors to bring hope and employment to local people. The factory employs 50 people who worked in Mosul before the city was taken over by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). Many of the families in the surrounding villages have been skilled stone cutters for generations, and worked as stone cutters in Mosul. When they could no longer work there, they were unable to support their families. Nashwan, one of the men now employed at the stone factory, says, "Without this project I would still be unemployed at home. But now it is better. I can take care of my family again. We hope for better times. We thank the church for supporting us." Read more...

 

Tajikistan: Christian arrested for sharing the Bible

21 February 2017 - A believer from a Muslim background has been arrested after an officer of the security services pretended to be interested in learning about the Christian faith. Sahat* was arrested just a few days ago. He was walking down the road when a stranger began talking to him. Sahat shared the gospel with him, and the stranger seemed very interested and asked about the source of his information. Sahat answered that he could learn more about Jesus from the New Testament. Read more...

 

Mali: Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali

21 February 2017 - A Colombian nun was kidnapped by armed men on 7 February in southern Mali, a relatively safe part of the country, which has been mainly unaffected by Islamist attacks. Gloria Argoti is part of the congregation of Franciscan Sisters in the convent of Karangasso, almost 200 miles from Bamako, the capital. Local sources said a group of armed men broke into the convent at around 9pm. They kidnapped the nun and locked up her assistant, before driving away in a car belonging to the convent. The car was later abandoned by the kidnappers, who were said to have continued their journey on motorbikes Read more...

 

Arabian Peninsula: Bibles on doorsteps

20 February 2017 - A Christian in a strict Muslim country is getting around laws against sharing his faith by leaving Bibles on doorsteps during the night. Oliver* lives in one of the countries on the Arabian Peninsula where evangelism to Muslims is strictly forbidden. If he was caught giving Bibles to Muslims, he could be deported or even imprisoned. However, it isn't illegal to help a Muslim read a book he already owns. So Oliver leaves Bibles on doorsteps under the cover of darkness, and comes back later to help those who find them and are interested to learn more. Read more...

 

North Korea: Leader's half-brother dies; missionaries expelled

15 February 2017 - Over the past week, North Korea has been hitting the headlines. The half-brother of Kim Jong-un has been killed, ballistic missile testing has caused international outcry, and missionaries on China's North Korean border have been expelled. But what do these news stories mean for Christians in the country where believers face the severest persecution... Yesterday, the North Korean leader's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was killed in Malaysia. Although a female suspect has been arrested by Malaysian authorities, no motive for the attack is known. Read more...

 

Sudan: UPDATE - Imprisoned men's lawyers appeal against sentencing

14 February 2017 - The lawyers of three men sentenced last month for spying on the state, or aiding and abetting in the spying, have submitted appeal letters and documents to the Supreme Court in Khartoum, a source in Sudan's capital has told Open Doors. The three men, Czech aid worker Petr Jasek, Darfuri graduate Abdulmonem Abdumawla and Sudanese Pastor Hassan Kodi, now have to wait until the judge at the Supreme Court calls them to discuss the appeal.Following their sentencing, Abdulmonem and Hassan have been moved to Kober Prison in the Bahari district of Khartoum. Read more...

 

Iran: Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for taking communion

14 February 2017 - Iranian Christians request further prayer for three Christian converts in Rasht, who are appealing against a sentence of 80 lashes for drinking wine at communion, and two Christian converts in Evin Prison, Tehran, who are threatening to go on hunger strike. Read more...

 

Central African Republic: Pastor killed and churches destroyed in renewed violence

13 February 2017 - A flare-up of violence in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), on 7 February left a pastor dead and his church demolished. According to the UN, at least three people were killed and 26 injured, including civilians and combatants. Meanwhile, various outbreaks of infighting between Muslim factions has caused thousands of Christians to flee their homes in the north of the country. Read more...

 

Somalia: MPs elect former Prime Minister as country's new President

09 February 2017 - Air traffic over Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, was halted on 8 February as MPs and senators gathered at the airport to elect former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as the country's new president. The outgoing president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, congratulated the winner, though many challenges lie ahead for the new leader. President Farmajo will have to try to unite a war-torn country that is still very much divided, while facing an ongoing Islamic insurgency and corruption crisis, as well as the threat of famine. Read more...

 

Syria: Islamic State captive finds God moments before execution

09 February 2017 - Being kidnapped by the so-called Islamic State is a worst-case scenario in the minds of many Middle Eastern Christians. But even here in the darkest valley, faced with pressure to deny Christ, potential torture or death, God walks alongside His people. People like Meghrik. As he stood in his own grave, moments away from execution, Meghrik earnestly prayed to God that He would deliver him. And He did. Read more...

 

Somalia: Important presidential elections take place today - please pray

08 February 2017 - Today, 8 February, MPs will be voting for their top candidates in Somalia's presidential elections. More than 20 candidates, including incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, are competing for the top position in Somalia - which is the second-most difficult country in the world for Christians to practise their faith, according to the Open Doors 2017 World Watch list.The most popular three candidates will then proceed to a second round of voting, after which the top two will go forward to a third and final vote. Read more...

 

Qatar: Building God's kingdom among football stadiums

08 February 2017 - The strict Muslim state of Qatar is preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. "All the efforts and resources in the country are now focused on making 2022 a success," says Simon*, a Sri Lankan who is currently working as a maintenance supervisor for some large football-related construction projects in Qatar. In the midst of this, God is at work in Qatar, and despite being a strict Muslim nation, many are meeting Jesus here. Simon was raised as a Buddhist, but decided to follow Jesus after coming to Qatar and meeting Christians. "I didn't even know Christ when I moved here. I would never have expected to become Christian in such a strict Muslim country. But it happened," he says. Read more...

 

Ethiopia: Three men falsely accused of arson have been freed!

31 January 2017 - Three evangelical men falsely accused of burning down an Ethiopian Orthodox Church building in the rural community of Gulema Iyesus have been acquitted and freed. Tibebu Mekuria, Dawit Jemberu, and Belete Tilahun were released on 18 January after a Supreme Court judge acquitted them on 13 January. The men, who have been in prison since June 2014, were arrested one month after the EOC building burned down, even though witnesses testified that the men were nowhere near the church at the time of the incident. Read more...

 
"God has called me to stay here and be his witness. I cannot leave the other Christians behind."
- Eun Hee, Christian martyr from North Korea