Saudi authorities have reportedly arrested a 28-year-old Christian man for describing his conversion and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his website. On Jan. 13, Saudi police arrested Hamoud Bin Saleh “because of his testimony that he converted from Islam to Christianity,” according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Bin Saleh, who had been detained for nine months in 2004 and again for a month last November, was reportedly being held in Riyadh’s Eleisha prison.His journey to Christ began after witnessing the public beheading of three Pakistanis convicted of drug charges. Shaken, he began an extensive study of Islamic history and law, as well as Saudi justice. His research led him to an exploration of other faiths and of the Bible. After reading how Jesus forgave rather than stoned a woman condemned for adultery, Bin Saleh prayed to receive Christ as his Savior. According to Compass Direct News Bin Saleh encouraged others to “just look and ask for the light of God.”
Please pray for those living in darkness, that they too will seek the “light” of Jesus.
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Egyptian Christians Sent to Prison
On Jan. 22 a judge sentenced six Christian brothers to three years in prison with hard labor for resisting arrest and assaulting authorities.
Last September, police officers raided a café in Port Sa’id, because they were open for business during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. When they tried to defend their café, the brothers were arrested and charged with resisting arrest and assaulting authorities.
There is no law in Egypt under which the brothers could be prosecuted for opening their café during Ramadan. “Police did not want to see people eating during Ramadan. This is unfair, because whatever people’s beliefs are, the law is something else and they should not be mixed,” said Ramses el-Nagar, the Christians’ lawyer. “We would like to see Egypt free and treating all citizens equally.”
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In a separate Compass Direct News report, Martha Samuel Makkar, who was arrested at Cairo’s airport last December for carrying forged identification documents, was granted bail on Jan. 24th. In the documents it listed her religion as Christian. Makkar explained in court her reasons for conversion, avowing her Christian faith and repudiating the judge’s claims that converting from Islam to Christianity was impossible.
Bail was granted to Makkar only after the judge took her aside and threatened her saying “Nobody changes from Muslim to Christian you are a Muslim.” She replied, “No, I am a Christian.” Judge Tawfiq then said, “If I had a knife now, I would kill you.” Praise God he gave the decision to let her go free.
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Relief for Gaza -Update Report
The Bible Societies in Israel and Palestinian Areas launched a joint initiative called “Standing in the Gap,” offering practical as well as spiritual relief for the suffering Gazan people. Open Doors is co-supporting a part of the program which is called “Love your Neighbor/Comfort my People.” It is not for Christian families only but also will be used in reaching out to Muslim neighbors in Gaza.
Working through several churches and organizations in Gaza they are trying to reach the neediest by setting a criteria of priority. Included in this aid program is help for 50 Christian families who fled Gaza and have found refuge in the West Bank. John Fox, an Open Doors fieldworker says: “We are very grateful for this great program and are happy to be able to co-support this initiative.”
Please Join in Prayer for:
- Divinely inspired compassion and justness for Bin Saleh in Saudi Arabia and all who will be deciding his fate. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy… Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:7, 10
- Thanksgiving to God for the boldness and courage of Christians like Bin Saleh and Martha Makkar to speak forth His truth in love without fear of consequence. “…But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Cor 15:57
- The Egyptians brothers who have been unjustly accused and sentenced to prison. Pray for all Christians persecuted because of righteousness. Pray they are strengthened and encouraged daily.
- Love and mercy to prevail in Gaza. Pray that the humanitarian efforts will provide much needed relief and that it will pave a way for them to receive hope for salvation in Jesus Christ.