Latest Requests

  • Syria: Abduction of Christians

    Posted on 29th May 2015

     

    Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

     

    Syrian Christians have requested continued prayer for peace in their land and for all affected by the ongoing violence, including Christian communities.

     

    In February Middle East Concern requested prayer following the abduction by Daesh (so-called “Islamic State” or IS) of more than 230 Assyrian Christians and the capture of around 35 predominantly Assyrian villages along the Khabour River in Hassaka Governorate. On Tuesday 26th May two elderly women were released, possibly because they are in poor health. While 25 of those abducted have now been released, more than 200 remain unaccounted for. In recent days the Daesh militants have been driven out of the villages following a successful surge led by Kurdish forces. However, very few of those villagers who escaped are returning to their homes as they are fearful of unexploded ordnance and of continuing instability in the area.

     

    On 21st May a Syrian Catholic Priest, Jacques Mourad, was abducted by unknown militants during an assault on the Mar Elian monastery near Homs. An associate of Fr Mourad, Deacon Boutros Hanna, was also reportedly abducted when he tried to intervene. According to the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate, Fr Mourad had refused to leave the monastery, saying "As the priest and pastor, I will never leave this place so long as there are people here, unless they hunt me down."

     

    Syrian Christians ask us to pray that:

    a.  the two elderly Christians recently released will know the Lord's comfort, healing and provision

    b.  all those who are still abducted will know the Lord's presence and protection, and will be released soon

    c.  those displaced from their homes will know the Lord's care and provision, and will be able to return soon

    d.  violence will cease, peace will be restored and the clear rule of law will be applied equally for all in Syria

    e. those responsible for the murder and abduction of innocent civilians will know the Spirit's conviction of sin, seek the Father's forgiveness and find new life in the Son

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information. 

     
  • Iran: Update on pastor on trial

    Posted on 27th May 2015

    Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

    Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz of Tehran requests prayer for his upcoming trial.
     
    On 26th December 2014 Pastor Victor, a former leader of the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church, was arrested at his home along with guests gathered for a Christmas celebration. Security agents who conducted the raid on his home stated that they were arresting the individuals because they were “participating in an illegal gathering”.
     
    Although most of the guests were released shortly afterwards, Pastor Victor (who is from an Assyrian Christian background) and two other believers, Amin and Kavian (from Muslim backgrounds), were charged with conducting illegal evangelism and taken to Evin Prison where they were kept mainly in solitary confinement until bail conditions were set for their conditional release (Amin on 10th February, Kavian on 17th February and Pastor Victor on 2nd March).

    Pastor Victor is expected to be summoned to court soon for his case to be heard.

    Pastor Victor has experienced difficulty in finding a lawyer willing to act as his defence counsel. Some lawyers have experienced a backlash after representing Christians in court and Victor is well-known as the former pastor of Shahr-Ara Assyrian Pentecostal Church, ministering until the church was shut on the orders of the Ministry of Interior in March 2009.

    Pastor Victor requests prayer that:
    a. a suitable lawyer will be willing to defend him in court
    b. the judge who will review his case will be someone who fears God
    c. Pastor Victor and his family will be able to continue in faith and strength and have wisdom and patience
    d. God will protect them as they carry on His work


    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.



     
  • Sudan: Update on pastors on trial

    Posted on 19th May 2015

     

    Greetings in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace. 


    On 13th May MEC requested prayer for two South Sudanese pastors on trial in Khartoum, Pastor Michael Yat (49) and Pastor Peter Yen Reith (36).

    Pastor Yat and Pastor Reith were detained in Khartoum by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) on 14th December 2014 and 11th January 2015 respectively. They have been charged with a range of criminal offences. These include crimes against the State which are punishable by death, a life sentence or lesser detention and confiscation of property.

    A court hearing took place today (19th May) from 10am to 3pm local time.

    A representative from the NISS was present and the prosecutor began to make his case. The prosecutor did not finish and will continue to present his evidence at the next hearing. Afterwards the defence lawyer will have an opportunity to present his case.

    The defence lawyer believes there is no real evidence against the two pastors for any of the charges. He also believes that the sole reason for the court case is the two pastors' exercise of their Christian faith.

    The next hearing is scheduled for 31st May 2015.

    Christians in Sudan ask us to pray:
    a. that Pastors Yat and Reith and their families will know the Lord's peace and protection
    b. that the next hearing will be held as scheduled and that all charges will be dropped
    c. that church leaders across Sudan will know the Lord's guiding wisdom in the face of the continuing pressures against them
    d. that all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him 

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists, outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

     
  • Sudan: Update on pastors on trial

    Posted on 14th May 2015

     

    Greetings in the name of Jesus. 

     

    Yesterday (13th May) we requested prayer for two South Sudanese pastors on trial in Khartoum, Pastor Michael Yat (49) and Pastor Peter Yen Reith. 

     

    The court hearing took place this morning. Since the prosecutor could not produce his witness from Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the judge postponed the hearing until 19th May 2015. He ordered the prosecutor to produce his witnesses at that hearing. 

     

    Pastor Yat and Pastor Reith were detained in Khartoum by the NISS on 14th December 2014  and 11th January 2015 respectively. They have been charged with a range of criminal offences. These include crimes against the State which are punishable by death, life sentence or lesser detention and confiscation of property

     

    Christians in Sudan ask us to continue to pray: 

    a. that Pastors Yat and Reith and their families will know the Lord's peace and protection 

    b. that the next hearing will be held as scheduled and that all charges will be dropped 

    c. that church leaders across Sudan will know the Lord's guiding wisdom in the face of the continuing pressures against them 

    d. that all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists, outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

     
  • Yemen: Aden church destroyed in bombing raid

    Posted on 13th May 2015

     

    Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

     

    Church leaders in the Arabian Peninsula have requested prayer for the country of Yemen, including its Christian communities, following the destruction of a church building in Aden amid the current warfare.

     

    Catholic church leaders report that the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the al-Ma'ala area of Aden was destroyed in an aerial bombing raid during the night of 11th May. The adjoining priest's residence was also destroyed. The priest was not present at the time of the airstrike. The church building, constructed in 1960, is one of very few church buildings in Yemen (all of them in Aden) that have been permitted to host services for the expatriate Christian community. Christian gatherings also take place in private locations.

     

    In recent weeks airstrikes led by Saudi Arabia have targeted Houthi rebels, the Zaydi Shi'a group that has seized control of much of the country. It is understood that the church was hit during a raid targeting Houthi positions. The current conflict has led to a deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

     

    Church leaders request our prayers that:
    a.  peace and justice will be restored in Yemen
    b.  humanitarian aid will reach all who are in need
    c.  the small remaining expatriate Christian community in Yemen will know the Father's comfort and strength, and the Son's close presence
    d. all Christians in Yemen will know the Spirit's guidance in every aspect of their life and witness

     

    May be circulated to general mailing lists and outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.