Update: wave of arrests of Christians in Iran

By September 10, 2009

Iran (MNN) — Iranian Christians
have seen a wave of trouble coming from the government over recent weeks.

Last month, authorities arrested
27 believers of a Muslim background (BMBs) at a home church, seven of whom are
still being detained.

Glenn Penner of Voice of the
Martyrs Canada
says, "There does seem to be a certain pattern of
deliberateness to this. Why again? We
can only speculate. But we simply observe that this is taking place." 

One BMB remains detained in Rasht
after arrest in late July. Seven other BMBs from Rasht, arrested at about the
same time, have been released.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada also
notes that two BMBs, Maryam and Marzieh, remain detained in Evin prison
following their arrest on March 5. They appeared in court in early
August when they resisted pressure to renounce their faith. No charges have
been filed. One new report concerns Mariah
Fish's arrest on August 3. She too has had possessions confiscated and is being
held in Evin prison.

Another report concerns a number
of BMBs being ordered to attend hearings at their local Ministry of Information
offices within the western Kordestan province. Officials intensely questioned
each one in a detainment that stretched into several hours. This has happened in
several towns.

Apparently, hope has drawn eyes
to believers.  Penner explains, "Young
people, in particular, are desperate to know more about Jesus Christ. The
churches are growing. Iranian religious leaders we know are very concerned
about this and it's sending a message of that concern. At the same time, we're
not really receiving any reports that this is having any sort of detrimental
effect on the spread of the Gospel."

Is it likely that the harassment
will increase? "One never knows where Iran is going to go," says Penner. "It is a country
that is unstable. We need to be praying that God will continue to be at work in
this country."

Pray that those detained will
know the presence and peace of Jesus. Pray that believers will be able to meet
with others for worship, prayer, fellowship and teaching without fear of

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