Open Doors – Egypt

Six Christian brothers sent to prison after police brutality

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NIV]

Six Christian brothers have been sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor for resisting arrest and assaulting authorities after they opened their café during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.

In September last year, police officers raided the café in Port Sa’id, a city in Egypt’s Nile delta, overturning tables, breaking chairs and smashing glasses and hookah pipes. Ashraf, Magdy, Osama, Nabil, Walid and Hany, all from the Morris Ghatas family, were beaten with sticks, leaving two with broken arms and a third needing stitches for a head wound.

There is no law in Egypt under which the brothers could be prosecuted for opening their café during Ramadan. When they tried to defend their café, the brothers, all in their 30s, were arrested and charged with resisting arrest and assaulting authorities. They were held for 30 days before being released on bail, set at 12,000 Egyptian pounds (US$2,173). This week they were convicted of resisting arrest and assaulting authorities and sentenced accordingly.

At the trial last week, defense counsel showed a video of the incident shot by an onlooker as evidence of police brutality. However, the footage did not sway Judge Mohammed Hassan El-Mahmody.

The brothers intend to appeal.

Source: Compass Direct
Please pray:

1. Remember the six Morris Ghatas brothers in jail. Pray that they would not be victimised in prison but would receive God’s strength and be a source of encouragement to those around them.
2. Pray for the authorities in Egypt, that they would treat all citizens, including the sizeable Christian population, justly and legally.
3. Pray for Christians living in Muslim societies that they would be given wisdom as they seek to be culturally sensitive to those around them.

For further news from the Persecuted Church visit

Thank you for praying with us.
Communications Team


Open Doors – Christmas apeal

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40 [NIV]

Send a Special Gift this Christmas

Dear Friend,

Mary* is a beautiful eight year old girl who lives in a desolate Muslim village in Egypt. Her story is both heartbreaking and filled with hope…

“My name is Mary and I am 8 years old. My mum & dad used to beat me and my friends didn’t love me. I wished to find someone who truly loved me. One day I heard about the children’s Club in our village and I learned that Jesus loves me and that He wants to change my life. Thank you, Lord Jesus that you died for me. Thank you that you redeemed me. Lord Jesus, I love you.”

Mary is just one of over 200,000 children in Egypt, northern Sudan and Iraq who have heard the Gospel of Jesus during summer Children’s Clubs. Mary’s heart has been turned from hate to love by the power of the Gospel! Mary’s story – made possible through Open Doors’ sponsored Children’s Clubs – provides hope, not just for Mary, but for thousands of children like her.

This Christmas, please will you remember Mary? The children love these camps: they introduce them to Jesus and give them real hope for the future. Open Doors is putting in place a £250,000 programme. Not only will it provide the means to run Children’s Clubs throughout the region, but the programme will also provide Bible stories and materials for each child to take home.

Send a Special Gift this Christmas
A gift of £20
can provide 10 children like Mary with Bible stories, crayons and a t-shirt at Children’s Club!
Help reach Young People with the Good News of Jesus Christ
A gift of £60
can train and resource
a youth leader with a Study Bible!

Additionally this fund will support an ambitious programme to train and equip a new generation of youth leaders capable of mentoring teenagers, and providing hope not only to the children of today, but establishing a foundation for the Church of tomorrow.

Our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. This Christmas please remember Mary. If you have not given a donation please make the time to do it now!

Finally, please can I ask you to take the time to forward this Christmas appeal to members of your church, friends and family and to visit the Open Doors website for more information on how you can support the Persecuted Church.

Click here to watch Eddie’s Christmas Appeal video »

Have a very blessed Christmas


Wave of violence forces families to evacuate Iraqi city

“Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. ”

– Jeremiah 10:7 [NIV]

Fresh waves of violence are sweeping through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul causing thousands of families to flee the city. Sources report that over 15 Christians have been killed in Mosul in the last few weeks. Much of the killing seems to be at random. One victim was a 15-year-old boy who was shot while playing in the streets with his Muslim friends while another was a man in a wheelchair. Open Doors contacts estimate that 1,600 Christian families have now left the city to escape the violence.

Christian families report that varied measures are being used to make Christians flee the city such as warnings or threatening letters thrown into Christian’s houses. Checkpoints, some official some bogus, have been installed around the city, stopping cars and instructing Christians to leave within 24 hours.

A family, temporarily living in a local church told how fifteen young masked men stormed their house. They collected the mobile phones first, and then they asked if there were men in the house. Fortunately the husband was not in the living room at that moment and could flee to neighbors via the backdoor. The family was instructed to leave their three story house. They were not allowed to take anything with them. Finally the house was destroyed with explosives.

“Many of the people fleeing now are those who virtually are too poor to have fled earlier”, Yassr says. “There are even people who want to flee Mosul, but just cannot. Last week I asked an anxious father why he didn’t flee the city with his family. He responded that they did not have a car or any money, so simply had no choice than to stay.”

Open Doors has this week launched an immediate response by providing food packages, blankets and cookers for around 200 families  but with winter approaching additional help will be needed. Aid is also coming from the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration and other relief organisations operating in the region.

Source: Open Doors

Prayer points:

1. Prayer for ongoing peace in the region and wisdom for government officials as they seek to address outbreaks of violence and the issues behind it.

2. Please lift up before the Lord the families who have lost beloved ones in the last few weeks and those going through traumatic experiences. Pray for those who lost all their property and personal belongings dear to them.

3. Please pray that relief campaigns will be bring aid to those most in need and that there will be enough support for the Iraqi Christians.

For more information please click here:

Thank you for praying with us.


Open Doors

British appeal court recognises threat to Christian converts

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. ”

– 1 Peter 1:22 [NIV]


A UK immigration court of appeal has for the first time recognised the threat to the lives of Muslim converts to Christianity by granting asylum to a Syrian evangelical Christian couple. In an unprecedented victory, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) helped a young couple (whose identity is being withheld for security reasons) gain refugee status in the UK.

The court recognised that the couple would face real physical threats, including death, if they returned to Syria, the husband’s country of origin. Their appeal was granted on both asylum and human rights grounds.

“This is a significant and groundbreaking decision that clearly puts the focus on the fact that many converts to Christianity from Islam face real danger including the ultimate penalty of death,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ECLJ.

The couple had converted to evangelical Christianity a few years ago and thereafter witnessed openly to Muslims using internet chat rooms. After their conversion, which in Syria is considered apostasy under Shariah law and therefore punishable by death, the couple began receiving death threats, including a video of a beheading. The husband’s family told him that if he refused to return to Islam then they would “wash their shame”, or put him to death.

Organisers helped to gather the signatures of six US Congressmen for a letter to the UK appeals court in August. American lawmakers also recognised that the couple faced a “credible threat” and that their lives were in danger.

Source: Christian Today

Prayer points:

1. Pray that God would protect this young couple from members of their own family and the wider Muslim community who would wish to harm them

2. Pray that the plight of Muslim-background believers living in the UK would be recognised by British believers and the UK courts

3. Pray for courage for believers in Syria, who are seeking to share their faith with others via the internet and through personal contacts.

Thank you for praying with us.

Communications Team

Open Doors: Eritrean

Evangelist fears for his life inside Eritrean prison

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

– 1 Peter 1:8-9 [NIV]


An evangelist imprisoned since 2006 for his Christian activities is reported to be undergoing especially harsh treatment because of his ministry to inmates. Sources said Teame Weldegebriel is on the brink of despair while he languishes at the Mai Sirwa Maximum Security Confinement prison.

“It seems that hell has broken loose on me,” Weldegebriel told supporters. “Please tell the brethren to continue praying for me. I am not sure I will see them again.” Prison authorities consider Weldegebriel dangerous because of his boldness in sharing his faith. The Rhema Church evangelist has been proclaiming Christ to other prisoners, and many have converted to Christianity.

Weldegebriel’s family is worried about his health after trying repeatedly, without success, to get permission to visit him. Inmates at the prison often go hungry and are said to be feeding on leaves.

The government views leaders of large unregistered bodies like the Full Gospel Church and Rhema Church as threats, according to Christian sources in the country. Eritrean officials fear church leaders will expose the abuses and conditions in the prisons. It is extremely difficult for relatives to see those in prison, or for inmates to send or receive letters.

A former prisoner described how God is at work in Eritrea, with many people converting to Christ: “For sure Christians are getting imprisoned, but God’s word cannot be imprisoned,” he said.

Source: Compass Direct

Prayer points:

1. Please pray for evangelist Teame Weldegebriel – that through His word, God would give him hope for the future, and that the attacks on him would relent

2. Please pray that the authorities would permit Teame’s family to visit him and that they would be able to encourage him

3. Pray that all the new believers will receive good teaching and discipleship and be able to grow in their new-found faith.

Thank you for praying with us.

Communications Team


Christians charged with ‘apostasy’

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.

– Acts 9:4-5 [NIV]


Two Iranian Christians have officially been charged with “apostasy”, or leaving Islam, as a draft law making the death penalty mandatory for those convicted of the charge is set to be debated in Iran’s Parliament.

Mahmood Matin Azad, 52, and Arash Basirat, 44, have been in prison since May 15, when they were detained while meeting with other Christians in a park in Shiraz.

Charges are based on Article 214 of the penal code and treatise on legal affairs, the Tahrir ol Vassileh. Iran’s legal system is based on shariah (Islamic) law.

With the apostasy bill to be debated in Parliament, some Iranian Christians fear that authorities are seeking to make an example of the two prisoners or give the prospective law a “test run”.

In February this year, the Iranian Parliament proposed a draft penal code that demands a mandatory death sentence for leaving Islam. Under current Iranian law, although apostasy is considered a capital offence, punishment is left to the discretion of the judge.

Arash, who suffers from diabetes, and Matin are expected to appear in court within the next few weeks to begin their defence.

Despite many individual believers being severely oppressed by the authorities, the Church in Iran has experienced substantial growth as increasing numbers of Iranians from a Muslim background come to faith, often through satellite TV and radio broadcasts.

Source: Compass Direct

Prayer points:

1. Please pray for Mahmood and Arash as they begin their defence. Pray for wisdom and understanding for their legal team as they argue quite literally for their lives.

2. Pray that the proposed legislation, which permits Christians to be killed for reaching out to others with the love of Christ, will not be passed.

3. Pray for the impact of Christian communications through satellite TV and the internet.

Thank you for praying with us.

Communications Team

Open Doors: Nigeria

Muslim Extremists Burn Church Building in Nigeria

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

– Psalm 9:9 [NIV]


On Sunday 31 August, Muslim extremists set fire to a Christ Apostolic Church building in the Baboko area of central Nigeria’s Kwara state.

The Rev. Samuel Ogowole said that local Muslims had complained that the church building was located near a mosque.

The church building was 500 metres from the Baboko mosque, but to appease the Muslim community the Kwara state government had offered church leaders 3 million naira (£14,000) and ordered the congregation to relocate. Church leaders rejected the order, saying they had spent nearly seven times that much to construct the church building.

Rev. Ogowole said that Muslims initially applied pressure on town planning authorities in 2005. “This ultimately resulted in a relocation notice asking us to relocate the church out of the area in seven days,” he said. “However, we objected to the relocation order. Our position was that relocating to another place would mean creating hardship for our members here, who would have to travel many kilometres in order to worship.”

Rev. Cornelius Fawenu, secretary of the Kwara state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), told reporters he hopes the state government will intervene to prosecute the arsonists.

Source: Compass Direct

Prayer points:

  • Please pray for peace to prevail in Kwara state. Ask God to strengthen and protect his people there.
  • Pray that the church members would respond with love and forgiveness, not retaliation.
  • Pray that the perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and that the church will be adequately compensated.


Yesterday Open Doors was told that the health of Shi Weihan, the Christian bookstore owner and house church leader imprisoned in Beijing for the past few months, continues to deteriorate. Apparently he is now hardly recognisable to his closest friends. Please pray for him and his family. You can speak up on his behalf by going to

Thank you for praying with us.

Communications Team

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