According to Open Doors USA, “House church leaders fear an increased wave of persecution following a speech by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.:
In a speech given by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he warns Iranians against the “network of house churches” that “threaten Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims.” Iranian Christians are concerned that this will result in a policy causing increased pressures and arrests, but hope that it is used by God to draw more Iranian’s to Christ.
Ayatollah Khamenei, on October 19th, gave a speech in Qom, which is the second most holy city after Mashhad. In it the supreme leader elaborates on the ways in which he believes that Islam is attacked that causes young Muslims to fall away from the “pure” Islamic faith. He refers to Salman Rushdie, Hollywood films and cartoons that try to destroy Islam. He also warns of attacks from philosophies or religions like Sufi Islam, nihilism and the Baha’i faith.
In the same sentence, Khamenei warns about the deception of the enemy by the expanding “shabakeye kelisahaye khanegi” or “network of house churches.”
One church leader states that Khamenei is setting up internal enemies in order to distract citizens from economic problems.
Speeches like this often have a wide ranging effect on the security services and the religious police. They often take measures against the excesses that Khamenei warms against. He painted house church members as enemies of the state so some sort of response by the government is to be expected.
Please continue to keep the church of Iran in prayer. In the midst of great adversity the church in Iran is growing. God is working in a mighty way even though numerous Christians are imprisoned for their faith. The church daily experiences the limitations of this Islamic regime, Christians are watched closely and some churches are even under surveillance. Known church leaders can no longer operate as they have in the past, they must work very discreetly. Pray that God would give them wisdom and grace.
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