Latest Requests

  • Iran: Prisoner released in Shiraz

    Posted on 12th November

    Greetings in the name of Jesus.

    Friends and relatives of Suroush Saraie are pleased to announce that he was released from prison yesterday, 11th November.

    Suroush Saraie and Mohammad Roghangir were arrested on 5th July 2014 in Bandar Azali in northern Iran. They were taken to prison in Shiraz in order to serve sentences handed down in July 2013.

    Suroush and Mohammad were among seven arrested in Shiraz when a prayer meeting was raided on 12th October 2012 as part of a wider campaign of intimidation by Iranian authorities against Christians and other religious minorities. Those arrested were affiliated with the self-styled 'Church of Iran' network.

    In July 2013 those arrested were convicted of “action against national security” and “propaganda against the order of the system”. Suroush was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and Mohammad received a sentence of six years. In July 2014 they started serving their sentences in Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz. The others, who were sentenced to terms varying from one to five years, were also summoned to prison in Shiraz over the following months.

    Suroush and his family rejoice at his release, but former prisoners often continue to experience hardship. In some cases released prisoners have been pressurised by security officials to become informers. Many former prisoners suffer psychological trauma and struggle to find employment.

    Iranian Christians request our prayers that:
    a  Suroush will quickly recover from his imprisonment and that he and his family will be strengthened in the Lord and adapt to normal family life
    b.  those who remain in prison, including Mohammad and the others from Shiraz, will be comforted and released soon
    c.  all prisoners in Iran will be treated with respect and dignity as beings created in the image of God
    d.  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.


  • Iran: Believers arrested

    Posted on 10th November


    Greetings in the name of Jesus.

    Iranian Christians request prayer for at least fourteen believers from Muslim backgrounds who were arrested earlier this month in Varamin in Tehran Province. Relatives of those arrested have requested that this incident be made public and that as wide a prayer network as possible be engaged on behalf of the victims.

    On November 1st security agents raided a house church in Varamin, south-east of Tehran, and arrested at least thirteen of those present, including Poorkaveh, Simmin, Bahram, Amin, Leyla, Zahra, Mehdi and Farzaneh, Shayan, Sara, Nazanin, Elnaz and Mohammad.

    The following day another Christian connected with the house church was arrested at his home in Tehran.

    Many of those arrested were formerly members of Emmanuel Protestant Church in Tehran, which was forced to stop its Farsi-language services in 2012, resulting in the formation of several informal house churches.

    The present whereabouts of those arrested is unknown to family and friends, who are concerned for their safety. They request our prayers that:

    a. those arrested and detained will know God's strength and love, that they will answer their interrogators with patience and wisdom, and that they will be released soon
    b. the families and friends of those detained will know the Lord's strength, peace, protection and support
    c. all prisoners in Iran will be treated with respect and dignity as beings created in the image of God
    d. 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.

  • Syria: Priest freed, other Christians executed

    Posted on 12th October

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

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

    We are pleased to report that Fr Jacques Mourad, a Syrian Catholic priest abducted on 21st May 2015, was released on 10th October. He was abducted by Daesh (so-called "Islamic State") during a raid on the Mar Elian monastery in Qaryatain, Homs Province. In early August Daesh seized control of Qaryatain and took further hostages, including Christians. On 20th August evidence emerged that the Mar Elian monastery had been destroyed.

    The circumstances leading to the release of Fr Mourad are not yet known, though the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus confirmed he is in good health and that he is expected to travel to Damascus soon. Following his release Fr Mourad celebrated Mass in a town close to Homs. On 1st October a Daesh video emerged, purportedly showing a gathering in August of more than 50 Christian men in Qaryatain. The video shows the men signing a contract undertaking to pay the 'jizya' subjugation tax to Daesh, and to refrain from all public expressions of non-Islamic worship. Local church sources confirm that Fr Mourad appeared to have been part of that gathering. According to separate reports, another Assyrian Christian, Fahid Khazaal, was executed by Daesh in September for refusing to accept their conditions.

    Another video released by Daesh on 7th October showed the executions of three Assyrian Christians – Assur Abraham, Bassam Michael and Abdelmassih Enwiya. The executions are understood to have taken place on 23rd September. Two of the three men are understood to have been among more than 230 Christians abducted in late February when Daesh captured around 35 predominantly Assyrian villages along the Khabour River in Hassaka Governorate. The third, Abdelmassih, is understood to have been abducted in April. A Syrian  Evangelical leader paid tribute to the three, describing Abdelmassih as "a great man of God who took a risk by staying in his village to take care of his people and to encourage them in the Lord." These atrocities have led to heightened fears for more than 200 Christians who remain detained by Daesh.

    Syrian Christians ask us to pray that:
    a.  Fr Mourad will know the Lord's restoration, guidance and wisdom as he adapts to his newly regained freedom
    b.  the family and friends of Fahid, Assur, Bassam and Abdelmassih, together with all others who mourn in Syria, will know the Lord's comfort and hope
    c.  all who remain abducted will know the Lord's presence and protection, and will be released soon
    d.  those displaced from their homes will know the Lord's care and provision, and will be able to return soon
    e.  violence will cease, peace will be restored and the clear rule of law will be applied equally for all in Syria
    f.  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, outside organisations, and quoted from freely in reports citing "Middle East Concern" as the source of the information.

  • Egypt: Christian broadcaster harassed by government

    Posted on 12th October


    Our prayers have been requested for a leading Christian broadcaster in the Middle East after legal proceedings were initiated by the Egyptian government targeting their operations in Egypt. 

    On 10th October officers from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology's Censorship Department came to the Egypt studios of Christian satellite TV broadcaster SAT-7. The officers presented a search warrant and proceeded to confiscate cameras and other equipment. They took the Office Director Mr Farid Samir to the local police station. The police agreed to release Mr Samir following the intervention of Egyptian church leaders, but he was ordered to attend the Prosecutor's Office on 11th October.

    During a two-hour hearing on 11th October charges were brought against Mr Samir relating to incorrect registration of a TV channel, failure to hold licences for certain editing activities and failure to comply with regulations concerning live streaming of broadcasts on the internet. Mr Samir and the lawyers acting on SAT-7's behalf refuted these charges. It was demonstrated that the Censorship Department's report contained factual errors and evidence was presented to confirm that SAT-7's registration and licences are in good order.

    Mr Samir has been released pending further discussions between the Prosecutor and the Censorship Department. The Prosecutor will then determine whether the case should proceed to court, or whether it should be dismissed. This is expected to take up to two weeks.

    The police will continue to hold the confiscated equipment pending a final decision. This will cause significant disruption to SAT-7's activities in Egypt. SAT-7 emphasises that one of its key aims is to promote peaceful co-existence in the Middle East through fostering bridges of understanding between different faith communities.

    Those close to SAT-7 ask us to pray that:
    a. Mr Samir and his family will know the protection of the Father and the presence and peace of Jesus
    b. Mr Samir, together with other SAT-7 leaders and legal representatives, will know the Spirit's wisdom in all their interactions with the authorities
    c. the prosecutor will drop this case, and that there would be no further harassment of SAT-7 or other Christian broadcasters in Egypt
    d. disruption to SAT-7's broadcasting operations will be minimal, and that SAT-7 and other Christian broadcasters will have boldness and wisdom as they proclaim  the Christian message and promote peaceful co-existence in the Middle East


    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.

  • Israel: Update on Christian schools threatened with closure

    Posted on 28th September


    Greetings in the name of Jesus.

    Christians in Israel are pleased to report that an agreement has been reached between the Israeli government and Christian schools that has enabled the schools to end their strike today (28th September).

    On 10th August MEC requested prayer on behalf of Christians in Israel concerned about the continued existence of Christian schools in the country after negotiations with the Israeli government over funding for the schools had reached an impasse.

    There are 47 Christian schools in Israel associated with different denominations and serving mainly the Israeli Arab community of Christians and Muslims. The total number of students served by these schools is 33,000. Over the last ten years government cuts in subsidies, and limits on how much parents can be asked to contribute, put the schools in a financially impossible situation. Solutions previously proposed by the government would have compromised the Christian ethos of the schools.

    Other schools in the same educational category continued to receive a high level of funding, leading to claims by Christians that the cuts their schools faced were discriminatory. Protests were made by school staff, students , parents, and more widely within Israeli Arab communities, and representations were made by political and church leaders, including Pope Francis.

    On Sunday morning (27th September) an agreement was reached between the Secretariat of Christian Schools and the Education Ministry. It was announced that the schools will receive a one-off payment of 50 million shekels (about $12.7 million) immediately, as well as another 7.5 million shekels to be used for "fostering development". In a statement, the Secretariat said that it regards the agreement as a provisional achievement. It welcomed an agreement to establish a committee to review the legal status of the schools, which they trust will lead to a long-term solution.

    A spokesman for the Secretariat gave assurances that the days missed as a result of the strike would be made up during the school year. He noted that the promised finance will enable schools to reduce parental contributions for elementary students by 25%.

    Christians in Israel are grateful to all who have prayed and expressed concern, and are thankful that the Israeli government has come to this accommodation. They request prayer that:
    a. The present agreement will lead to a long-term solution
    b. the schools will be able to catch up on the days missed due to the strike over the last four weeks
    c. God will continue to bless and use the schools for the good of all within Israeli society


    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.