Monday, July 8, 2013

Iranian Christian Convert Tried for Participating in House Church

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

TEHRAN, IRAN (ANS) -- Mostafa Bordbar has been tried for his faith in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

Mostafa Bordba
According to Mohabat Iranian Christian News Agency, Bordbar, 27, is one of several Christian prisoners currently being held in ward 350 of Evin Prison for their faith.

Mohabat News said Bordbar's trial was held on June 9 2013. He was arrested on Dec. 27 2012.

The court announced his charges as "illegal gathering and participating in a house church.
Shima Qousheh, Bordbar's lawyer and a member of the Iranian Human Rights Commission said if Bordbar is found guilty, he could face a sentence of between two to 10 years in prison. However, the court has not yet issued its final verdict.

Mohabat News said minutes before his trial, while handcuffed and in prison uniform, he was allowed to have a short visit with his fiancé and his parents. However, no one other than his lawyer was allowed to enter the court room.

According to Mohabat News, Bordbar was arrested when Iranian security authorities attacked a Christian house gathering held to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.

Mohabat News said five years p rior to that incident, Bordbar had also been arrested in Rasht for converting to Christianity and participating in a house church. His interrogator at the time condemned him for "apostasy."

However, Mohabat News reported, Bordbar was temporarily released on bail after his case passed through all the legal processes. This conviction remains in his record, and according to Mohabat News its agency has the supporting documentation.

Mohabat News said Judge Pir-Abbas, the judge working on Bordbar's case, also sentenced well-known Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini to eight years in prison for "starting a house church aimed to disrupt national security."

'Dozens dead' in school attack in Nigeria's Yobe state

'Survivors say they woke up to find gunmen pointing their guns at them,' says the BBC

By Dan Wooding, who was born in Nigeria
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

MAMUDO TOWN, YOBE STATE, NIGERIA (ANS) -- At least 42 people, many of whom were students, teachers, medical workers and residents, have been killed in a pre-dawn attack by suspected Boko Haram Islamists on a school in northeastern Nigeria, reports say.

In this photo taken with a mobile phone a doctor attends to a student from Government Secondary School in Mamudo, at the Potiskum General Hospital, Nigeria, following an attack by gunmen
According to the BBC, eyewitnesses said some of the victims were burned alive in the attack, in Mamudo town, Yobe state, which is the deadliest attack yet on schools in Nigeria's embattled northeast.

"Survivors say they woke up to find gunmen pointing their guns at them," says the BBC.

The attack took place on Saturday July 6, 2013, when Islamic militants attacked the boarding school before dawn, dousing a dormitory in fuel and lighting it ablaze as students slept, survivors said.

Dozens of schools, including many run by Christians, have been burned in attacks by Islamists since 2010.

"Yobe is one of three states where President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May, sending thousands of troops to the area," said the BBC.

Devastation at the school
A reporter from a press agency said he found chaotic scenes at the hospital in nearby Potiskum, where traumatized parents struggled to identify their children among the charred bodies and gunshot victims.

Survivors said suspected militants arrived with containers full of fuel and set fire to the school. Some students were burned alive, others were shot as they tried to flee.

The BBC's Will Ross, in Lagos, says this area has frequently been attacked by the Boko Haram militant group.

"More than 600 people were believed to have been killed in 2012 by the group, which is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north," added the BBC.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Iran: 'Do you confess you are a Christian? You can be killed for this'

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

PARIS, FRANCE (ANS) -- Fifteen tall, muscular men broke into her home in Esfahan the day after Christmas and began to ransack it. At first they were silent and refused to answer any questions, but then it be came clear. They were looking for evidence she is a Christian.

Unnamed Iranian woman
beaten for her faith
She was still in bed at 7:30 a.m. when the men broke into the house.

Apparently, a neighbor opened an exterior door to the complex. "I thought I was dreaming," says Fatemeh Yar-Ahmadi, also known as Yassi, in an interview conducted with Mohabat News. She had been a Christian for eight years when she received the visit by the Intelligence Service. She had also been working with believers in other parts of Iran.

"Cut the phone lines. Spread through the house and start searching," the men yelled.

"Who are you?" Yassi cried out. They did not reply. Her mother, who suffers from heart disease, sat in the next room. Startled and afraid, she began to cry.

"What do you want?" Yassi asked again. "Say something! My mom is scared!"

One of older men, who appeared to be in charge, showed her a paper and said they were looking for Christians. "Who is a Christian here?" he asked harshly.

"Don't do anything to my mom. I am a Christian," she replied. Yassi turned to her mother and said, "Don't worry, they are looking for me." Her mother began to shake. One of the men filmed everything with a camcorder.

"Do you clearly confess that you are a Christian?" the man asked. "You can be killed for this."