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Bad News for Dogs

Iran

News reports earlier this year said that the police in Iran were taking pet dog from their owners and not returning them. The police discouraged people from walking their dogs in public or allowing pet dogs to ride in their cars.

Muslim practices differ from place to place, but strict Muslims in some places believe that dogs should not be kept as pets.

Iran is ruled by Shariah (Muslim) law. Under the law, Christians do not have the freedom to encourage Muslims to become Christians.

Many Muslims in Iran are tired of the strict rules that they are expected to follow. Christianity is growing in Iran as people leave Islam to search for truth.


Maryam and Marziyeh: Another Story

Maryam Rostampour told a story about how God protected her and Marziyeh Amirizadeh when they shared the gospel in Iran.

“God protected and guided us every day. Once a friend was helping us pick up some New Testaments and take them to our apartment. We had his van packed with three thousand Bibles and traveled at night because we thought it was safer. At the entrance to a bridge we had to cross, policemen were stopping and searching every car. By the time we saw what was happening, we were hemmed in by traffic and couldn’t get out of line. All we could do is pray for the Lord to protect us. At that moment, a fight broke out between the police and a driver one or two cars ahead of us. While that was being settled, they stopped searching cars and let the rest of the line go on across the bridge. We gratefully thanked God for getting us through that danger safely.”

(Source: Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. Preview recommended before sharing the story with children.)

 


Letters Make a Difference

Captive in Iran

You can send a message to a Christian prisoner in another country by following the instructions at www.prisoneralert.com. But do the letters make a difference?

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh spent 259 days in prison in Iran because of their Christian faith and activities. Christians from around the world wrote letters to them.

Maryam wrote about a prison official at the prison who said, “You have caused a great deal of trouble for us with these letters of yours. Every day we have to open and read letters about you and your case.”

“You have to read letters about me?” asked Maryam.

“Yes! At least forty or fifty a day that have been sent to you from all over the world.”

“If the letters are sent to me, why should you be reading them?” Maryam asked. But she thought to herself, “We don’t need to read the letters to be encouraged by them….We have a family of faith that loves us and cares for us. We are not alone!”

(Source: Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. Preview recommended before sharing the story with children.)

To Think About: How did the letters encourage Maryam and Marziyeh if they were not allowed to read them?


Iran: On Dangerous Ground

Iran

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were Christian friends in Iran, where most people are Muslims. After they became Christians, they shared their faith with others and gave Bibles to people in their country.

But in Iran, it is a crime for a Muslim to become a Christian, and for Christians to encourage Muslims to give their lives to Christ. Men and women called the “basiji” help enforce the rules.

One day, the basiji came to Maryam and Marziyeh’s apartment to investigate. The woman and two men asked Maryam and Marziyeh a lot of questions and searched all their rooms. They searched for more than two hours and found hundreds of Christian CDs and many New Testaments in Farsi, Iran’s main language.

“We were on dangerous ground,” Marziyeh later wrote.

How do you think you might feel if dangerous people were searching your house for Bibles? What would you do?

Marziyeh told what she and Maryam did. “Maryam and I brought them New Testaments and CDs they had overlooked, and even helped to count them: 190 New Testaments and 500 CDs.”

“I will always trust the Lord,” Marziyeh had told friends before the basiji came to the apartment. Her calmness showed the Muslim officials that she was sure of her faith. Maryam even handed a New Testament to one of the basiji and said, “You should take one of these and read it.”

Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested and sent to prison. They were released after 259 days. God helped the stay strong in their faith during their imprisonment.

(Source: Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. Preview recommended before sharing the story with children.)


Quran Competition

Iran
Iranian man reading a Quran

Muslim children around the world are encouraged to memorize the Quran, the Muslim holy book. Many Muslims believe they will go to heaven when they die if they memorize the entire book. The Quran contains about 6,200 verses.

Quran reciting contests are held in many countries. Every year Muslims from more than 80 countries meet in the United Arab Emirates for a big competition.

Onstage contestants are shown on large screens so the audience can see them better. Some spectators take cell phone videos of the reciters. Top reciters are highlighted on YouTube. The winner of the contest gets 250,000 dirhams, which is more than $60,000 in U.S. money.

Judges recite a verse from anywhere in the Quran. Contestants then recite the following verse and several after it from memory. Reciters are judged not only for how well they have memorized the verses, but if they recite it in the right tone of voice and with proper pronunciation. All the verses are recited in Arabic, even by contestants who come from countries where Arabic is not the main language.

In the following (fictional) skit, a Christian boy is challenged to learn more about his own faith and God’s Word after meeting some Muslim children.

Read a chart comparing the Quran and the Bible.

Find more skits and plays in the Downloads section.

Learn more about the Quran and Islam in Learning About Islam in the Downloads section.

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