From Barnabas Fund:
IRAN - CHURCHES ORDERED TO STOP HOLDING SERVICES IN NATIONAL LANGUAGE
The last two registered Tehran churches to hold services in Farsi have been ordered to stop doing so on Fridays in an apparent bid to prevent Muslims from hearing the Gospel in their own language.
The pastors of Emmanuel Protestant Church and St Peter Evangelical Church were issued with the order by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and announced it to their congregations on 10 February.
There are now no Christian services in Farsi, the language of the Muslim majority in Iran, in any officially registered church in the capital on Fridays. The order was not applied to Sundays, but Friday is the main weekly holiday in Iran, and it is difficult for people to attend church on any other day because of work commitments.
Individual members of the two churches have also been targeted; some have lost their jobs after the authorities put pressure on their employers.
In a separate case, the Iranian authorities have given an unprecedented penalty to a Christian convert from Islam. Fatemeh Nouri, an art student at a university in Tehran, was given a sentence of “deprivation of education” for one year following charges of “attending a house church, insulting sacred figures and activities against national security”. She had been arrested at her home last September and spent nearly three months behind bars.
- Pray for the members of the two churches who have been forced to stop their services in Farsi. Pray that the congregations will not be discouraged and that they will continue their faithful witness.
- Give thanks for Fatemeh Nouri, and pray that her faith may not waver but be strengthened despite the harassment she has faced.