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Posts tagged ‘Muslim’

We all have heard of ‘THE END’, This is it, unless… B’Haram to Biafrans/Christians : NIGERIA AMALGAMATION EXPIRES DECEMBER 31.


killed by bh
BH

As the amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorate by the British will be put to an end this year on December 31, groups, regions and individuals have called for a new negotiation to decide whether the country should divide or not.
Certain documents signed into law at the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 indicate that the country was created as an experiment meant to last for 100 years, and break up if the peoples are not compatible.
The documents, known as ’Tinubu Square Edict’ or Accord of 1914 was said to be similar to the British/China accord of Hong Kong to be enforced for a centennial reign. Although the document is kept secret, this fact is generally known to the ruling class, most dons of political science and law as well as the government of UK. However, there has been a consistent effort by Nigerian government to keep this knowledge out of public as it may lead to agitation for breaking the country into two; pre-1914 status especially by those in the south.
But following the frequent agitation by those in South for balkanization indicates that the secret has been known to them. There are strong indications that the United States of America, USA, may be gearing up for a possible balkanisation of the country following developments in the last few years.
This indication is contained in a publication credited to NEWSRESCUE in America, where accounts of an article written by Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC and Guest Columnist of AllAfrica Global Media, Mr. Daniel Volman and speakers in an AFRICOM conference held at Fort McNair were given. So let everybody be watchful and Muslims be aware of any possible scenario that may hinder our Deen. May Allah protects all Muslims and save the Nation.
Ta’awun Public Relations

Source: Radio Biafra.

Sharia Implementation in Northern Nigeria: An Asset or a Liability? By Leo Igwe.


By Leo Igwe

Today, criticizing Islam has become a dangerous undertaking even when such criticisms are warranted. Islamic clerics and intellectuals freely voice out their oppositions and criticisms of other religions or moral philosophies to the extent of inciting violence and hatred of whoever they perceive to be an ‘enemy’ of Islam. But anyone who dares point out the abuses and crimes being committed in the name of Mohammedan religion risks being accused of blasphemy or islamophobia- a term recently coined by those who want to make criticizing Islam a crime around the globe.

Such accusations make a critic of Islam look like a criminal. They make the fellow an endorsed target for murder and elimination by the ubiquitous foot soldiers of Allah, seeking slots in paradise.This development has created a climate of impunity and apprehension in many places as Muslim extremists rampage, kill, maim, loot and destroy in furtherance of their own interpretation of Islam, Sharia and the will of Allah.

So what we have in many countries is a situation where local authorities and governments turn a blind eye on atrocities being committed by Islamist because they do not want to offend Muslim sensibilities. They do not want to be portrayed as anti-Islam.

One such place where Islamic extremism is raging and wrecking havoc is northern Nigeria. Most parts of northern Nigeria are currently under siege from fanatics, jihadists and theocrats with competing and conflicting ideas of Sharia implementation and Islamic state. To put the situation into perspective, a brief historical background  is helpful here.

Shortly after Nigeria‘s return to civil rule in 1999, Muslim majority states in the north imposed Sharia law.  The process was marked by bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians in states with significant number of non Muslims like in Kaduna and Bauchi, Many lives were lost. Many people were displaced and property destroyed. At the end of the day, Sharia ruled -fully or partially- in many of the states. Right now the situation remains volatile. Tension and unease calm reign across the region. Hatred, division and suspicion caused by the introduction of Sharia law is not going away too soon. At the beginning of Sharia implementation, governments in these states assured the people that the law would not apply to non Muslims; that the law was for Muslims only. But this is not the case today. Most Sharia implementing states have become full fledged Islamic states where non Muslims are treated as second class citizens. In fact many Sharia implementing states have made Islam a state religion and promotion of Islam a state business.

Recently the government of Katsina state voted to spend 359 million in building mosques in 34 local councils in the states. Building mosques? What is the business of the Katsina state with building mosques? What makes building mosques in local councils a priority today? Is that how the government is tackling poverty and unemployment in the state?

Meanwhile in Kano state, Sharia implementation is getting serious nowadays. Kano state has a state funded Sharia police called Hisbah. Hisbah have been very active in the state. The Sharia police have literally usurped the role and duties of state police. They enforce Sharia law in ways that flagrantly violate the constitutional rights of non Muslims as well as Muslims. Apart from compelling- and teaching- Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan, Hisbah arbitrarily arrest and detain those whom they perceive to be prostitutes or homosexuals. They clamp down on the sale and drinking of alcohol.

Not too long ago, the sharia police destroyed  over 240,000 bottles of beer as part of its latest crackdown on ‘immoral practices’ in the state. Some of these goods belong to non Muslims or are for consumption by non Muslims. Who says that sharia implementation does not apply to non Muslims?

Sharia states have also been funding the propagation of Islam in the country. Two governors of sharia implementing states- Sokoto and Bauchi- were among those who gave cash rewards to mainly Igbos who converted to Islam in Abuja National Mosque. Couldn’t they have made better use of this money in developing there respective states? What is the business of state governors with the conversion of people from Christianity to Islam or vice versa?

Some of the reasons advanced for the Islamic insurgency in northern Nigeria are poverty, unemployment and marginalization of northern states. But here is a situation where the so called poor and marginalized states have enough money to waste building mosques and rewarding converts to Islamic religion. Is that really a wise way of spending or investing the scarce resources of these poor states? Today Sharia states have two layers of policing and court system. The Sharia layer of police and court is funded by the state government. Is that not a waste of limited resources?

The time has come for Sharia implementing states to call their politicians to order. They need to divest from state funding of Sharia and invest in building schools, colleges and skill acquisition centers. Sharia states should invest in schemes that create jobs, tackle poverty and empower the people; schemes that address the development needs of persons of all faiths and none.  Sharia implementing states should check the activities of Hisbah and other quasi Sharia policing organs in the region. These groups are spreading Islam-based hatred, fear and intolerance.If as they say, there is no compulsion in Islam, then there is no need for Sharia police at least in indigent Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria. Sharia agitators declared in 1999 that the destiny and development of Muslim majority states was tied to Sharia implementation. Going by the developments in northern Nigeria since then, one may ask: Is Sharia implementation now an asset or a liability?.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

3 Pastors Among Dead in Central African Republic.


Central African Republic violence
More than 400 people died in three days of violence, according to the Red Cross. Three pastors were among the dead. (World Watch Monitor)

Three pastors were among those killed in the recent interfaith violence in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.

Pastors Raymond Doui, 46; Elisée Zama, 33; and Jean-Louis Makamba, 48, were killed on Dec. 5 as members of the disbanded Séléka rebel forces went on a rampage following an offensive by Christian-dominated anti-Balaka militias.

Doui, pastor of the Community of Independent Baptist Churches, died at his house in the northern suburb of Fondo. He leaves behind a wife and 11 children. Zama, of the Evangelical Church of the Brethren, was among those killed as ex-Séléka forces raided a hospital. He leaves a wife and five children. Makamba, pastor of the ELIM Church in the north Begoua area, was killed alongside one of his sons by former members of Séléka, which had entered the church compound. His wife and nine surviving children have fled, after hearing that the rebels were after them.

Another pastor, whom World Watch Monitor is not naming to preserve his safety, is on the run with his family after he learned the rebels were looking for him. He is from a Muslim background and went into hiding after the rebels burned his home and that of relatives living close by.

These incidents highlight the religious nature of the conflict, as Muslims and Christians continue to clash.

In all, more than 400 people died in three days, according to the Red Cross, while dozens have sought treatment in the corridors of overcrowded hospitals.

The number of deaths is likely to be far higher, according to a source cited by Open Doors International, a charity that works with Christians under pressure for their faith. Open Doors quotes a source, not named for security purposes, as saying:

“In reality we must speak of at least 700 dead. The Red Cross has not counted the people that have been slaughtered and thrown into the river or buried directly by relatives or by fishermen.

“In spite of the arrival of the French and the beginning of the disarmament, the killings continue. The war has become purely religious. Anti-Balaka defensive forces attacked the ex-Séléka and other Muslims first. This invited terrible retaliation against the Christians. The ex-Séléka and Muslim men women and children armed with firearms and machetes went from house to house, killing Christians regardless of their age. The streets of Bangui are littered with corpses. The Red Cross buried hundreds of bodies in mass graves.

“Most people are hiding indoors. Some have fled into the bush, and about 20,000 Christians fled to the church of Pastor Nicolas Guerékoyamé, the president of the Evangelical Alliance, because he is one of the religious leaders who always denounced the abuses of the ex-Séléka.”

The Central African Republic has been beset by violence since March, when a coalition of rebel groups, led by Michel Djotodia under the Séléka banner, drove out President Francois Bozizé.

Djotodia took control of a transitional government but lost control of Séléka soldiers. He disbanded Séléka in September, but its members continued to loot, rape and murder Christians in particular. Since September, the mostly Christian and animist local population have formed self-defense groups named anti-Balaka, which have attacked Muslims, in turn inviting brutal reprisals from ex-Séléka members and raising fears of interfaith genocide.

On Dec. 5, the U.N. Security Council authorized the expansion of the African and French military forces currently attempting to maintain security in the Central African Republic and started planning for the possible conversion of those forces to a U.N.-managed peacekeeping operation.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Egypt: Three Christians Sentenced for Killing a Muslim.


CAIRO — An Egyptian criminal court convicted three Christians of killing a Muslim man, a judicial official and the state news agency said, in a dispute that that left nine people dead in some of this year’s worst sectarian violence.

Six Christians died in the clashes, which took place in a small town just outside Cairo in April, but no one was arrested or convicted for their killings, lawyers said.

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

In its ruling, the criminal court of Qalubiya province sentenced one Christian man, Hani Farouk Awad, to life imprisonment and two others to 15 years for the killing of a Muslim resident of Khosoos, where the violence took place. Nine Muslims were sentenced to up to five years for vandalizing Christian properties while 32 were acquitted, the official said.

He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Egypt’s Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s population, have long complained of discrimination and sectarian strife — usually fueled by hate speech from religious extremists, attempts to build new houses of worship or interfaith love affairs.

The sense of fear was heightened when Islamists rose to power following the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The Khosoos dispute was the worst violence during the one-year rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who was removed in a popularly backed coup in July.

The fight started when young Muslims drew inflammatory symbols on an Islamic school and the vandalism was blamed on local Christians.

Two defense lawyers in the case said a cleric of the local mosque urged revenge for the death of the Muslim man, leading to three consecutive days of violence that also saw a church attacked and private shops and homes of Christians looted and burned.

Assailants doused one of the Christians with gasoline and set him on fire. They contend that only two Christians were convicted in the case. The difference with the court’s number of convicted could not be reconciled.

Samaan Youssef, one of the Christians’ lawyers in the case told The Associated Press that the prosecution failed to identify any of the suspects in the killing of Christians because local witnesses were afraid to speak out and possibly provoke revenge attacks and renewed violence.

The violence later spread to the doorsteps of the country’s main Coptic Cathedral after funerals for the Christian victims. An angry mob of Muslims threw firebombs and rocks at the church forcing a group of Christians, who attempted to march against the government, back into the church.

Editor’s Note: US Abandons Bulwark Against Terror in Western Hemisphere 

The violence left two dead, including one Christian. Reports at the scene said few police were present.

Iskandar Samir, another lawyer and relative of some of the defendants, said he would appeal the verdict. He described it as the “continuation of a series of sectarian rulings,” adding that few Muslims are ever held responsible for violence against Christians.

Ishaq Ibrahim, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said investigations into the attack on the cathedral were never completed and no one stands charged. He lamented what he called selective justice in the case.

“This opens the door for more sectarian strife,” he said. “The prosecution neglected the investigation.”

Both the two lawyers and Ibrahim said one of those acquitted has been dead for five years, “raising questions about the prosecution’s handling of the case.”

With hundreds of people killed in the past three years of turmoil, rights groups have criticized prosecutors and police for weak evidence collection and shoddy prosecution. The groups say the weak process perpetuates a culture of impunity.

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© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Mandela’s message to Nigerian corrupt leaders.


 

Nelson-Mandela

YOU know I am not very happy with Nigeria. I have made that very clear on many occasions. Yes, Nigeria stood by us more than any nation, but you let yourselves down, and Africa and the black race very badly. Your leaders have no respect for their people. They believe that their personal interests are the interests of the people. They take people’s resources and turn it into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand why Nigerians are not more angry than they are.

“What do young Nigerians think about your leaders and their country and Africa? Do you teach them history? Do you have lessons on how your past leaders stood by us and gave us large amounts of money? You know I hear from Angolans and Mozambicans and Zimbabweans how your people opened their hearts

and their homes to them. I was in prison then, but we know how your leaders punished western companies who supported Apartheid.

“What about the corruption and the crimes? Your elections are like wars. Now we hear that you cannot be president in Nigeria unless you are Muslim or Christian. Some people tell me your country may break up. Please don’t let it happen.

“Let me tell you what I think you need to do. You should encourage leaders to emerge who will not confuse public office with sources of making personal wealth. Corrupt people do not make good leaders. Then you have to spend a lot of your resources for education.

Educate children of the poor, so that they can get out of poverty. Poverty does not breed confidence. Only confident people can bring changes. Poor, uneducated people can also bring change, but it will be hijacked by the educated and the wealthy…give young Nigerians good education. Teach them the value of hard work and sacrifice, and discourage them from crimes which are destroying your image as a good people.”

(Excerpts taken from a 2007 interview with Mandela conducted by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed).

Source: Radio Biafra.

The owners of the Zoo Sultan of Sokoto launches fatwa committee & 12 others.


Sultan-Abubakar

The Muslim umbrella body, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), inaugurated yesterday the Fatwa committee, which is saddled with interpreting Islamic jurisprudence and recommending appropriate sanction against offenders.

The fatwa committee was among 13 committees, majority of which are headed by traditional rulers in the North, inaugurated by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, at the national headquarters of the body in Kaduna.

Speaking at the event, the Sultan said setting up the committee was as a way of uniting Muslims, pointing out that it was important for Muslims to come together as one.

He said: “The work of Islam should be taken seriously, as our religion has problems and we should fight towards embracing peace and unity amongst ourselves to achieve what has been before.

“I urged the appointees to be proactive as they accept this wondrous task to serve in the different committees, and make sure that you discharge you duties diligently.”

The Secretary-General, Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, said the JNI has gone a long way in propagating the ideals of Islam, unity of the Ummah and protecting the overall interests of Muslims since its inception in 1961.

Aliyu added that the committees are to collaborate with stakeholders to source for support or counterpart funding and further articulate a blue print for the JNI.

JNI’s spokesman Umar Zaria said the Fatwa Committee was set up to look into current Islamic issues that do not have clear interpretations in Islamic Jurisprudence.

The committee, Zaria said, has the power to proffer advice, even the passing of a death sentence on an individual.

He said: “The Fatwa committee will look into areas of modern times and Islam. It would be saddled with the interpretation, for example, whether or not it is Islamically right to eat with fork, spoon or not.

“It would look into current trends as they concern Muslims and decide on the kind of judgment they would get.

“This would be more practical in areas where Sharia law is now being practised.

“Yes, on the passing of a death sentence, even if it is on a non-Muslim, the Fatwa Committee is capable of doing that.

“But, as I said, it all depends on whether the issue in question is in Islamic Jurisprudence. But the Fatwa committee is strictly on individual behaviour and not a communal committee. And Muslims are the most affected.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Duck Dynasty Told To Stop Praying In Jesus Name Because It Offended Muslims (VIDEO).


Duck Dynasty features a number of things that run against the grain of popular culture. They’re a strong family that runs their own business, which is based on their patriarch’s invention. They go to church. They don’t engage in microwave marriages to pop stars. Their daughters aren’t famous for sex tapes or appearances in men’s magazines. They hunt. With guns.

duck-dynasty-told-to-stop-praying-in-Jesus-name-it-offends-muslims

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They also pray, and according to two of the show’s stars, Phil and Willie Robertson, the prayers caused some problems with the producers.

click-here-to-read-the-rest-of-this-story-on-before-its-news-from-now-the-end-begins-nteb-geoffrey-griderWhen the producers of Duck Dynasty asked the stars to stop saying “in Jesus’ name” during prayers because it might offend Muslims, Phil Robertson stood his ground and gave an eye-opening response.

“So they would just have me saying, ‘Thank you Lord for the food, thank you for loving us. Amen.’ So I said, ‘Why would you cut out ‘In Jesus’ name?’ They said, ‘Well those editors are probably doing that. They just think that they don’t want to offend some of the Muslims or something.’” source – PJ Media.

by NTEB News Desk

Egypt Arrests Most Famous Christian Convert.


 

Bishoy Armiya
Bishoy Armiya, Egypt’s most famous Christian convert from Islam, has been arrested by national security forces. (CBN News)

Bishoy Armiya, Egypt’s most famous Christian convert from Islam, has been arrested by national security forces.

Armiya, formerly known as Mohammed Hegazy, had fought publicly to change his religion on his identification card. He and his family had been running for their lives after Muslim leaders pronounced a death sentence against him.

In a 2010 interview, he told CBN News he had been jailed and tortured by Egyptian state security agents who wanted him to return to Islam.

Now Mideast Christian News reports he’s been arrested again, this time for proselytizing.

“The defendant photographed military and police institutions, a Copt who was attacked by Muslim Brotherhood members, and Nazlet Ebeid and Badraman villages, where the defendant met with several Christian citizens. Security services tracked him down and were able to arrest him,” a security source told MCN.

While converting to Islam is considered the norm, Muslims who convert to Christianity risk prosecution or death at the hands of extremists.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

CBN NEWS

Folk Islam Meets the Power of Prayer.


 

Kosovo
Trekking through the remote villages of Kosovo to bring the word of life on a Transform 2013 summer outreach. (OM International )

As the woman served the team coffee, OM team member Rebecca* asked if their family wanted prayer for anything. The woman’s eyes brightened, and with uncommon honesty she explained their struggles.

“We are always working so hard for the harvest,” she said, “but are never seeing the results of our efforts.”

A team from Transform (an OM outreach to Mediterranean peoples) heard this prayer request as they trekked the villages of Kosovo. For one week in July, 22 believers from around the world set out by foot to deliver Albanian New Testaments house by house.

While they walked, the teams kept their eyes open for opportunities for deeper spiritual conversations and prayer. When this Egyptian family opened their door, the team sensed this was a wider opening for Jesus’ work.

After Rebecca’s question, the woman continued to share the difficulties facing her family: “We have tried to arrange a marriage for our son many times, but even though the girl’s family said yes, in the end they said no, which is not normal,” she said. “And our family cow, which is a big part of how we provide for our family, suddenly died yesterday.”

Since the problems were of an unusual and inexplicable nature, she believed their family had been cursed through folk Islam. In Kosovo, folk Islam is a superstitious faith interwoven with traditional Islam. It is often seen in practices like fear of “the evil eye,” or reading coffee cups to see the future. It can also be used as a way to try and curse others.

Rebecca described how folk Islam is dangerous, and urged the family not to practice it. Then she shared that Jesus’ power is stronger than folk Islam, and that the family can find freedom through the power of Christ.

The team then prayed for the family to be freed from the curse of folk Islam. As they left, the women had tears in their eyes and were visibly touched by the prayer. The team left the family with a New Testament in their own language, as well as a DVD of stories about Muslims who had dreams of Jesus.

Dark forces do exist and can have a powerful grip through the practices of folk Islam, but Christ’s power always proves mightier.

Pray that this family and others from the Transform outreach would be touched by the Word of God and the stories from the DVD. Also pray that other families who practice folk Islam would turn to the salvation and forgiveness of Christ. Pray for Christian workers in Kosovo and across the Muslim world to battle dark forces with wisdom, and utilize the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer.

*Name changed.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MEREDITH MOENCH/OM NEWS

Former Prisoners of Iran Now Voice of Hope.


Maryam Rostampour, Marziyeh Amirizadeh
Born into Muslim families in Iran, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh encountered Jesus against all odds. (BGEA)

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28, ESV).

When Marziyeh Amirizadeh showed up at the local police station in Tehran on March 5, 2009, authorities told her there was an issue with her car registration.

In reality, she was walking into a trap.

Iranian government officials had been spying on her and her friend, Maryam Rostampour, and they didn’t like what they saw.

Within hours, both of the young women were arrested.

Their charges: anti-government activity, apostasy and promoting Christianity within the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Their crimes: handing out Bibles and sharing their faith through two home churches—one for their friends and acquaintances, and one that reached out to prostitutes.

Authorities ransacked Maryam and Marziyeh’s apartment without a warrant, confiscated anything related to Christianity, threw them into jail and denied them access to a lawyer for months.

“I remember one day they sent us to a dark and dirty cell in a basement,” Maryam says.

The two women were interrogated for hours, as their captors demanded names and addresses of every Christian they knew.

“Otherwise, we will beat you until you vomit blood,” Maryam recalls them saying of the threat of punishment that became a gruesome reality for so many of her fellow prisoners.

The women refused to identify their Christian friends. They were left in the dark, not knowing if the next interrogation would lead to beatings or torture.

“For days, we did not have anything to eat or drink,” Maryam says. “We could only use wet blankets strongly smelling of urine to keep ourselves warm.”

As they huddled together, terrified, all they could do was wait and pray.

Encountering Jesus

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war” (Rev. 19:11).

Born into Muslim families in a country that forces Islam on its people, it’s a miracle Maryam and Marziyeh ever discovered the truth about Jesus—a man who is just another prophet in the eyes of Islamic believers.

They grew up in separate cities, but both women sensed at a young age that something was missing from their lives. They were thirsty for a relationship with God, but they couldn’t seem to quench their thirst, even when they prayed to Allah five times a day and faithfully read the Quran.

Then, in their teenage years, each woman had an encounter with Jesus.

For Marziyeh, it started with a dream about a white horse. She wrote about it in the book Captive in Iran:

“The horse ran like the wind to save me. As I held fast to its neck, I felt its love pouring into me with a power and a purity I had never known. … For a week after that, all I could think about was the deep love I had experienced in the dream. I have never since experienced love like that in this world.”

Not long after she had that unforgettable dream, Marziyeh was invited to a church, where she learned about Jesus and experienced His healing power. After years of seeking, the Lord had revealed Himself to her. She was convinced Jesus was the Son of God.

Maryam discovered Jesus when a Muslim friend who knew she was seeking answers gave her a Christian booklet.

“She told me, ‘Don’t read the last page of the booklet, because it’s a conversion prayer,’” Maryam recalls. “From the first page I could feel my heart was deeply moved.”

As Maryam prayed the prayer on the last page and accepted Christ, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she had known about Jesus all along; she just hadn’t been able to get her hands on a Bible to learn His name.

Prison Becomes Church

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Phil. 1:12-14).

Maryam and Marziyeh spent two weeks in jail before they were transferred to Evin Prison, a notorious Iranian penitentiary known for torture, rape and executions.

At Evin, the women experienced daylong interrogations, solitary confinement and the pain of numerous infections left untreated by the staff at the medical clinic.

Their hearts broke as they watched 2- and 3-year-old children abused inside the prison—the place where they were born and spent their formative years.

But in the midst of the heartache, something miraculous happened.

The women locked up with them—many of whom had initially shunned Marziyeh and Maryam, calling them “dirty Christians” and apostates—began to see something different about them.

Maryam and Marziyeh refused to hide or deny their faith in Christ. They responded to insults and curses with love, compassion and forgiveness. And they were always asking their fellow inmates—prostitutes, murderers and political prisoners—how they could pray for them.

“They couldn’t understand that God still loved them,” Marziyeh says. “They’d cry and confess their sins. They could see miracles through our prayers.”

Maryam and Marziyeh were no longer the “dirty Christians.” Their fellow prisoners—and even some guards—sought them out, wanting to know about this Jesus they loved more than life itself.

“Evin Prison, the dreaded hellhole of Tehran and symbol of radical Islamic oppression, had become our church,” Maryam writes. “And so we prayed on.”

‘It’s Not About Us’

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).

The maximum punishment for apostasy in Iran is execution. Time and again, Iranian officials told Maryam and Marziyeh they could live and go free if they would just renounce their Christian faith. The women wouldn’t even consider it.

They spent almost nine months in Evin Prison. Before they were locked up, they delivered Bibles—20,000 of them in three years—secretly, under the cover of darkness.

At Evin, they shared their faith freely. Women came to them, hungry for truth and desperate for God’s love. Many found that truth and love in Jesus, inviting Him into their lives right there in their prison cells.

“We started to trust His plan,” Maryam says. “We believe it’s not about us. It’s about God.”

They still don’t know exactly how they won their freedom after countless promises of execution. They know it was ultimately an act of God, and that the prayers and pressure from Christians and human rights activists around the world helped convince their captors to let them go.

Now both women live in the United States, outside Atlanta. Knowing that returning to Iran would mean certain death, Maryam and Marziyeh use their book and their voices to spread the word about what happened to them—and what’s still happening to countless Christians and other prisoners locked away in Iran.

“We promised those women in prison to be a voice for them and to share their stories with the world,” Maryam says.

Their story has inspired the church around the globe, especially in the United States, where the freedom to follow Christ is too often taken for granted.

Maryam and Marziyeh pray Americans will cherish their ability to worship Jesus openly and that they’ll remember to share the gospel through their lives, no matter where the Lord takes them.

“Our view about church changed,” Marziyeh says. “Even a dark and brutal prison like Evin can be a church.”

To learn more about Maryam and Marziyeh’s book, Captive in Iran, and to learn how to help Christians who are being persecuted for their faith, click here.

This article originally appeared on BillyGraham.org.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

KRISTY ETHERIDGE/BILLYGRAHAM.ORG

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