Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saudi Arabia Chief Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Demands Destruction of Churches

A Muslim leader in Saudi Arabia is calling for the destruction of all Christian churches in Kuwait because he believes that is what Islam demands, according to a report.

In an article published by the Middle East Forum, Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, cites several Arabic language web publications that quoted Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declaring it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”

Ibrahim reported the Muslim leader’s comment was in response to a question by a delegation from Kuwait, where a member of parliament recently also called for churches to be removed.

“Accordingly, the grand mufti ‘stressed that Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it,’” Ibrahim reported.

“As with many grand muftis before him, the sheik based his proclamation on the famous tradition, or hadith, wherein the prophet of Islam declared on his deathbed that, ‘There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula,’ which has always been interpreted to mean that only Islam can be practiced in the region,” Ibrahim wrote.

The significance of the reports on the statement should not be underestimated, Ibrahim contended.

“Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah is not just some random Muslim hating on churches. He is the grand mufti of the nation that brought Islam to the world. Moreover, he is the president of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas. Accordingly, when it comes to what Islam teaches, his words are immensely authoritative,” he wrote.

In the Middle East, Christians already are facing increased persecution, including death, in countries where militant Islamic factions have stepped into the vacuum of power created by “Arab Spring” revolutions.


Massive Church Growth in Iran Open Doors Reports

Iran (MNN) ― Middle East Open Doors staff members recently reported that church growth is "explosive' in Iran; they even speak of a revival.

Iran is the fifth country in the world on Open Doors' World Watch List for the persecution of believers. The president and the supreme leader of the country openly speak against the growth of house churches, and persecution against Christian converts is highly prevalent.

Interestingly, though, these two government leaders are nearly alone in their disdain for Christianity as a "Western religion," says one Open Doors staff member. "In the past, Christianity wasn't popular; it was seen as a Western religion. Now only the government sees it as a Western product, or better: a Western political system," says the staff member.

Iranians have seen the corruption of the Islamic Revolution in their own country and are looking for something more. This yearning combined with a bold Christian presence is causing church growth like never before.

"Iranians are very outgoing and want to speak about their faith," a staff member states. "That is why discipleship training (with elements of outreach and communications) for Iranian believers is successful. If you tell them that a Christian should share, the Iranian Christian shares."

Offering discipleship training is one of the ways Open Doors works to strengthen the Iranian church. It is estimated that about half of the new Christians are open about their new faith while others are keeping their conversion a secret.

As a result of this willingness to take risks, there are hundreds of thousands of believers in Iran. About 40 years ago, approximately 200 Christians from a Muslim background were living in Iran. Today some estimate that there are as many as 370,000 Christian converts. Besides these new believers, Iran also has a traditional Armenian and Assyrian church with about 80,000 members.

These Christians face daily harassment for their faith. The government's abhorrence of house churches has caused house churches to cut membership down from around 15 members to more like 5 or 6.


'American Idol' Producers Tell Colton Dixon to STOP Posting About his Christianity!

Despite warnings to tone down his faith, "American Idol" Top 10 contestant Colton Dixon says he will continue speaking out about his Christian beliefs.

The 20-year-old singer from Murfreesboro, Tenn., revealed to that producers from the hit reality show told him that religious and political tweets and posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter could alienate some viewers and potentially cost him some votes.

"When we first started the Twitter and Facebook stuff, they said beware of political and religious tweets," he shared. "Just because it can turn off voters or whatever. But ... being a Christian is who I am. It is a part of me musically. It is what I want to do after the show – go into Christian music."