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All articles in category Western Asia

Hezbollah
September 2006
Lebanon

Hezbollah

Hezbollah (Hizbullah, Arabic for ‘party of God’) is an Islamic political party and militia group ­functioning within Lebanon. It was founded during the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and sided with one of the country’s ‘Christian’ factions against the many other, mostly Muslim, factions. Other powers, including Syria and several Western countries, also played various roles in the civil war. Largely in response to Israel’s invasion, a group of Shiite Muslim clerics led by Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah established Hezbollah to promote Islam and to resist Western influences in Lebanon. Iranian influence The clerics’ politics and theology were inspired by...

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September 2006
Lebanon

Lebanon profile

Lebanon is located north of Israel at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a border with Syria. It is a beautiful land of plains and mountains, with about 3.8 million inhabitants, nearly all Arab. Lebanon was once wealthy — an economic centre of the Middle East — but decades of war have destroyed its economy. Some rebuilding has taken place in recent years, but today Lebanon is a shadow of its former self. When Lebanon gained independence during World War II, power was apportioned among the various religious groups based on size. At that time, professing Christians were the largest group. Then...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – King Jesus and Iran
May 2006
Iran

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – King Jesus and Iran

  In 1978, after forty years of exile, Ayatollah-Ruhollah Khomeini made his triumphal re-entry into Tehran, the capital of Iran. Hundreds of thousands of excited Iranians took to the streets to welcome him and celebrate the beginning of the new Islamic regime.   He had the blessing of Western nations hoping to keep Iran from joining the communist bloc. Shortly before that, the much-hated pro-Western monarch, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, had departed — a defeated man dying of cancer.   Murderous   Khomeini didn’t waste time. Immediately he declared the ‘Islamic Revolution’, which ‘beginning with this great country Iran will advance to the entire Islamic...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT
May 2006
Iraq

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

Christianity in Iraq Many Mesopotamian Jews turned to Christ when the gospel was first preached, and their synagogues became Christian meeting places. But these soon succumbed to Nestorianism (a heresy teaching that the incarnate Christ was two separate persons – human and divine). Along with internal power struggles among the clergy, this weakened the churches and made them easy prey to invading Muslim armies (seventh century AD). Christians took refuge in the mountainous north and survived only because Sunni and Shia Muslims became distracted by internecine conflicts. By the early twentieth century, professing ‘Christians’ (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) made up 30% of the Iraqi...

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The Cyprus connection (1)
May 2006
Cyprus

The Cyprus connection (1)

Cyprus is an ideal location for a late season holiday, and the temperatures were still in the mid-twenties at the end of November when we visited Paphos last year. There is a relaxing feel to this area, and a crime rate only 6% of that in Britain. There are only about 750,000 inhabitants in the whole island which measures 148 by 40 miles. The biblical links to Cyprus are fascinating. Although Cyprus is not mentioned by this name in the Old Testament, we can trace the origins of the earliest settlers to two of the great-grandsons of Noah — Elishah and Kittim (Genesis 10:4).  ...

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Missionary Spotlight – A storm in Turkey
November 2005
Turkey

Missionary Spotlight – A storm in Turkey

Beside one of the beautiful Bosphorus bays in Istanbul lies the Bebek Park, where one can sit and watch large ships passing to and from the Black Sea. In the spring, steep wooded hills are ablaze with the red blossom of ‘Judas’ trees — which symbolise to Armenians the blood of the traitor Judas. In 1967, only a few months after we arrived in Turkey as missionaries, we befriended a poor family who lived in a small shed in this park. Each evening I visited them and was welcomed into their hovel, lit by an oil lamp. After tea served in tiny tea glasses and...

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July 2005
Israel

Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

Richard Gibson of Christian Witness to Israel reports on a recent meeting in Durham:   Over seventy students came to hear Nick Howard, son of Conservative Party leader Michael Howard, address the question: ‘Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah?’ The event was part of a ‘Hot Potatoes’ series of talks organised by the Durham Intercollegiate Christian Union. Describing himself as a Jewish believer in Jesus (Yeshua HaMashiach), Nick went through some of the major Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures and, in particular, Daniel 9. This Bible chapter played a big part in his own voyage of discovery, leading to faith in Christ. Nick’s discussion of...

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August 2004
Armenia

Missionary Spotlight-Artur Marandyan’s testimony

I was born on 1 November 1975, in Kirovogam (now Fanatsor) in Armenia. I was brought up in a good family, being the oldest of three children. My parents were nominal Christians. One day in 1988 my parents took us children away with them on a business trip. But we never returned to Kirovogam, for in our absence a great earthquake had destroyed the town. We were evacuated to a sanatorium in the suburbs of Kharkov in Ukraine. I studied at a secondary school in Ukraine. But although I lived at home with my parents, I was now brought up by ‘the street’. I experimented...

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