Iranian Christians are requesting prayer for a series of recent arrests. Shortly before Christmas, five Iranian women were taken into custody, including 65-year-old Ruhsari Kamberi. Following her arrest, Ruhsari faced ten days of intensive interrogation. Authorities had also searched the senior woman's home, where they confiscated her phone, Bibles and Christian materials. After eventually being released on bail, Ruhsari was brought before the prosecutor in mid-January to answer charges of "acting against national security." During the court hearing, she was ordered to meet with an Islamic religious leader to be "instructed" and offered the opportunity to return to Islam.
On January 23rd, a young Christian man was arrested following a violent raid on his home in Isfahan. Witnesses report that Sina Moloudian was dragged out of his parents' home with bruises on his face. A few hours later, prison officials permitted Sina to phone his parents and let them know he was being held at the Dastgerd Prison. From there, he would be taken to court where the charges against him were to be announced.
Two days later, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, 64, was also taken into custody. Ismaeil, a Christian for nearly 40 years, has been regularly harassed by security forces the entire time. After the recent arrest at his home in Shiraz, concerned members of his family attempted to contact the authorities to find out where he had been taken but were denied any knowledge of him. Although Ismaeil has since been allowed to contact his family, he did not know the location of his imprisonment nor the charges he is facing.
A concerted effort of governmental authorities to arrest and harass Christians continues throughout Iran. Article 18 reported at least 114 arrests in ten different cities during the first week of December alone. While most of these arrested believers were released after a few hours, they had been forced to write down details of their faith-related activities and ordered to have no contact with other Christians.
Please prayerfully uphold our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters in Iran who are experiencing heightened incidences of persecution. May each one of them find their strength and help in Christ during these days of trial and tribulation. For all who are serving time in prison for their faith, specifically pray that God's protection and encouragement will enable them to patiently endure -- all the while sensing His presence and ongoing ministry as He works sovereignly on their behalf.