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WORLD WATCH~SPRING OF 2014~
10 months ago
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This post was modified from its original form on 27 Feb, 6:12
10 months ago

10 months ago
Maldives

The Maldives boasts of having a 100% Muslim population, and is the only country in the world which requires all citizens to be Muslim. For this reason, there are very few Christians, and it is one of the only countries that is too dangerous to share stories from. Even if elements of a story are changed, certain details can be traced back to an individual, since the country is so small.

Instead, we paint a picture of what a day in the life of a secret believer in the Maldives looks like:

After an early morning prayer, you get dressed for work. As you walk out the door, you're excited, because today you will meet a fellow Christian. You have met him online, and you're hoping to learn more about Christianity through him.

But you're also anxious, since you're meeting this person for the first time. You try to brush aside your concern, as it is so difficult to find another Christian in Maldives.

You arrive at your office with a smile on your face. As you greet everyone, a colleague gives you a strange look.

"What's with you today?" your co-worker asks. "You seem so happy."

You feel anxious and don't know how to respond. You want to share about your new found faith, but hold back. Sharing your faith will cost you your job…and everything else.

"It's a good day, my friend," you tell your colleague.

"You act differently these days," he says. "Something tells me you've changed. I'm your friend- you know you can talk to me about it."

"About what?" you ask nervously.

"About your new religion," he says.

You want to run away, but you are paralyzed by fear. You've been discovered!

"Please, excuse me," is all you can say, stumbling away from your coworker, before he can say anything else.

You can't concentrate the rest of the afternoon, and wonder how he found out about your conversion.

"Did he tell others in the office? Who else knows about my faith in Jesus? Does my family know?"

You want to cry but you can't, because others may see and ask questions.

After work, you head to the café, where your Christian friend is waiting. You scan the place, looking for a person wearing a blue shirt. As your eyes roam to and fro, you spot him- a familiar face… It's your colleague!

"Sorry, brother," he says. "I didn't mean to scare you at the office today."

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

  Share This Story Maldives

10 months ago
Pakistan

Since June 19, 2009, Aasiya Bibi has been imprisoned, accused of blasphemy against the prophet Mohammad, which made her a criminal in the sight of the law. She is still experiencing the injustice and hopelessness of the judicial system in Pakistan. Christians are often guilty until proved innocent, and innocence is not likely to ever be proved.

At the time of her arrest, Aasiya Bibi was first ordered by the judge to physical remand for 5 days. She later stated, "When I was arrested, I was assaulted and harassed by the police. I was in a state of shock for many days."

Aasiya stands accused of blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code, which calls for death or life imprisonment for defiling the name of the prophet Mohammad. Her trial verdict came in November of 2010, when the lower court found her guilty and sentenced her to death.

Although Pakistan’s laws of evidence strictly forbid "hearsay" evidence and require direct oral testimony, the two witnesses who were presented before the Magistrate Court in Aasiya Bibi’s case were not even present at the time of the alleged incident.

Aasiya Bibi has lodged an appeal to the Lahore High Court. Lawyers involved in the case remain confident that the testimonies upon which the prosecution based its case will not stand up before the more impartial and professional High Court of Lahore.

Legal experts expect the appeals process to take another year, during which her safety would best be ensured if she remains in the jail, where she is allowed to see her family once a week.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

  Share This Story Pakistan

10 months ago
Iran

According to reports obtained by Mohabat News, the Revolutionary Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in its ongoing oppressive and intimidating anti-Christian campaign targeting Christian leaders and pastors of Iranian churches, sentenced Rev. Vruir Avanessian, an ordained Iranian minister of Armenian heritage, to 3 ½ years in prison.

Based on official court documents obtained by Mohabat News on December 5, 2013, including a signed order by the court judge, the court imposed a 3 ½ year sentence which was delivered to Rev. Avanessian. In these documents, Rev. Avanessian was charged and found guilty of anti-government activities and promotion of ideas contrary to the sanctity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was also given 20 days to file a complaint in the court against the verdict and the imposed sentence. The initial court hearing regarding the allegations against Rev. Vruir Avanessian was held on September 7, 2013 at the 26th judicial division of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. This hearing was held behind closed doors, and was closed to the public. It was decided at this hearing that until the announcement of the verdict of the court, Rev. Avanessian was to remain at home and avoid all contacts with other Christians.

Rev. Vruir Avanessian is currently suffering from serious heart disease and diabetes. He undergoes kidney dialysis three times week at a private clinic in Tehran, and has been retired from active ministry due his medical condition. The court was fully aware of Rev. Avanessian's medical condition, and issued a harsh sentence despite prior knowledge of his health.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

9 months ago
Sudan

Moses* was born to a successful Muslim businessman in Sudan. As a young man, he helped his father run the business. Sadly, the father died when he was 16 years old.

Moses' mother remarried after a short while, and he was sent to a state-run school for 'problematic' young people. Here, Moses faced disciplining and Islamic instruction. He endured regular beatings and hard labor.

After some time, Moses escaped. He found refuge for a few years in a separate town where he made ends meet by doing menial jobs.

One day in 2011, Moses walked past a church and noticed the cross. He unexpectedly felt "something stirring in him". He entered the building on an impulse, and was met by a church elder. They had a brief discussion about the Christian faith.

This one conversation led to a number of follow-up meetings. After two years of discussion, Moses accepted Christ. The regular discussions turned into discipleship sessions.

Moses was married to a Muslim woman, and for a while, she kept his faith a secret. However, eventually she told their family, and she left Moses. She said she would only return if he renounced his Christian faith.

Moses receives threats from his family, and has been forced to relocate multiple times.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

  Share This Story Sudan

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