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Iran Christians Urging Prayers As Security Forces Raid Churc...

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Iran Christians Urging Prayers As Security Forces Raid Churches; Pastors Detained

Feb-16-2012 at 09:12 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Iran Underground Church Services
Iran Christians Urging Prayers As Security Forces Raid Churches; Pastors Detained
by Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife. February 14, 2012.

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife) — Embattled Iranian Christians urged prayers Tuesday, February 14, as Iranian security forces reportedly launched a crackdown on devoted 'official' churches and house congregations operating outside government control.

Among those detained in the latest operation is Maasis Mosesian, an elder of the Assemblies of God Church in the capital Tehran, said advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC), which closely follows the situation.

Mosesian was "arrested at his workplace" February 8 and "is understood to be detained in Gohardasht, about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) west of Tehran," MEC told BosNewsLife in a statement. No reasons were given for the reported detention of Maasis, who is Armenian and married with two children.

Several other members of the Assemblies of God denomination remain behind bars, following Christmas raids, BosNewsLife learned.

At least one of them, a Christian identified as Pastor Rouhollah Ghobeyti, is pressured to "recant his faith in Christ" a self-professed member of the Ahvaz Assemblies of God Church told BosNewsLife.

KAROON JAIL

"I have been informed about one of our brothers, Rouhollah Ghobeyti, kept in Karoon jail" since his arrest around Christmas 2011, said the Christian, who only identified himself as Chris, amid security concerns. He said news "had been ignored" about the pastor, who is of the associated Dezfull Assemblies of
God Church.

BosNewsLife was not immediately able to receive confirmation about the status of the pastor, but MEC said at least three Assemblies of God members are known to be behind bars in Iran. MEC said that two other churches in Tehran, the Emmanuel Protestant Church and St Peter Evangelical Church, have been ordered to cease holding Farsi language services on Fridays.

"The pastors were given notification of this order last week by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and announced the order to their congregations on Friday" February 10.

"This decision means that there are now no Farsi language services on Fridays in any officially registered church in Tehran," MEC added. Earlier, in October 2009, the Assemblies of God Church was already ordered by authorities to halt Friday services, Christians said.

As Friday is the main weekend day in Iran, it is difficult for church members to attend services on other days, MEC said.

LOSING JOBS

The group added that some members of the Emmanuel and St Peter churches have also lost their jobs after authorities placed pressure on their employers.

"These churches are among the small number of officially registered churches that principally serve the Armenian and Assyrian communities of Iran. Most activities are conducted in the Armenian and Assyrian languages. The order to stop Farsi services is consistent with the authorities' policy of restricting Christian activities to these traditional communities," the group claimed.

House churches, which have no official recognition and often serve believers from Muslim backgrounds, also continue to be under great pressure, Iranian Christians said.

Mohabat News, a news agency of Iranian Christians and rights activists, said 10 former Muslims-turned-Christians were detained in a raid on a house church in the city of Shiraz on February 8.

Iranian officials have so far declined to reveal their wherabouts.

PRAYERS URGED

MEC said Iranian Christians have urged fellow believers around the world to pray that "Maasis will know the peace and presence of Jesus, and be released soon" along with "other believers detained for their faith in Jesus" and for church leaders "so they will be guided in how to respond."

Iran Christians were also praying that they can resume Farsi-language services on Fridays and that everyone can worship there, MEC said.

Additionally they pray that "those who lost their jobs will find employment" that "all officials involved will love mercy, act justly learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him."

Iranian officials have denied wrongdoing and say they are defending Islamic values.

Copyright 2008 BosNewsLife. All rights reserved. This material may only be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed by those sponsoring BosNewsLife for $10/month and/or with our prior written consent.


Related Information

Religious Cleansing in Iran
Iran Escalates Attacks on Christians
Islamists’ War against ‘the Other’
WikiLeaks: 2005-02-11: 05ANKARA800: Assyrian Christians in Iran: Looking for a Way Out
WikiLeaks: 2001-03-12: 01VATICAN1390: Foreign Minister Tauran's visit to Iran

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1. RE: Iran Christians Urging Prayers As Security Forces Raid Churches; Pastors Detained

Feb-16-2012 at 09:14 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

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Iran Christians Urging Prayers As Security Forces Raid Churches; Pastors Detained
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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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