Protests have erupted in Iran following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old who was detained for violating the country’s hijab laws. As protests across Iran intensify, SAT-7 amplifies the voices of viewers inside Iran who are asking for prayer support.
Throughout last week and into this week, all the live programs on SAT-7’s Persian channel, SAT-7 PARS, have been focused on events in the country and on sharing hope and encouragement with audiences on social media and satellite. SAT-7 PARS continues to receive messages from viewers in Iran despite the internet blocks and restrictions on social media sites.
“Please pray for us; the situation is bad”, wrote one viewer as the protests intensified across the country.
“The messages are understandably muted, but we are here and ready to receive messages if they manage to get through from our viewers,” shared Ashraf Khalilpour, SAT-7 PARS’ Viewer Support Supervisor.
Despite the restrictions, the SAT-7 PARS team have continued to send weekly viewer support messages, which include audio teaching, worship songs, and prayers, via WhatsApp.
“Even if they are not all read now due to the restrictions,” said Ms Khalilpour, “when they finally are, our viewers will know we have not abandoned them. When some do get through, the response we get is ‘Thank you for thinking of us and continuing to pray for us.’”
As SAT-7 PARS continues to broadcast live on Instagram and satellite, the consistent message across all the programs is one of hope and encouragement.
As events unfolded last week, Pastor Sotoudeh prayed on SAT-7’s Instagram Live program Sanctuary of the Heart for all involved.
Father God, we thank You that we can trust You with every aspect of our lives, including in the current circumstances in Iran, which are full of turmoil and tragedy. Father, we pray for Your comfort for families who are in pain because of the loss of loved ones, like the family of Mahsa. We can never fully know and understand their pain, but we know that they are in pain. Grant them Your peace and comfort. We thank You that You are the living God, and that You hear our prayers and answer them because we ask these things in the dear name of Jesus, with thanksgiving.
“Please pray,” asks SAT-7 CEO, Ms Rita El-Mounayer. “As our God says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ We ask for your prayers to uplift the people of Iran during these very difficult days.”
SUPPORTING PERSIAN SPEAKING WOMEN AS PROTESTS CONTINUE
All SAT-7 PARS live programs, especially New Identity and Insiders, have responded to the ongoing protests. Presenters expressed their deep sorrow, and shared messages of hope and solidarity for women’s rights, while also speaking God’s Word into the situation and committing the people of Iran into the Lord’s hands in prayer.
New Identity focused on “revival of the broken-hearted” addressing the trauma that people, especially women, in Iran are going through in these days and what the Word of God says about this. Rashin Soodmand was the guest on the program, because as a daughter of a Christian martyr she experienced trauma at a young age and was able to share her experience.
“Throughout history, achieving freedom has always come at a cost,” said Sally Momtazi, presenter of Insiders, which this week covered the subject of the mandatory hijab and the resistance of women in Iran with two experts, a psychologist and a sociologist. “Our hope is that the Lord is with each one of us on this journey, so that everyone can have the right to choose. This is the most basic of rights that a person can have”.
“Restrictions of the rights and freedoms of women characterize many countries across this region, and that is why restricting the internet is particularly devastating for women,” said Ms Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7 CEO. “SAT-7 PARS is a space where women have had a voice and found a platform to discuss taboo topics and to work for positive change in their country in safety. Restricting internet access not only shuts down their voices and their ability to connect with the world, but it also prevents them from receiving the much-needed encouragement and prayer that they so sorely need today. This is why broadcasting our live programs on satellite television continues to be vital in showing God’s love in this region.”
The need to minister to women and girls across the MENA remains great. SAT-7’s programming on satellite television and its digital media activities for women across the region aim to achieve three things in particular: to help women and girls recognize their individual value in God’s eyes and give them a platform to make their voices heard, to strengthen their families and communities, and to equip them to challenge negative social attitudes and effect positive change.
Surveys of female viewers of our Arabic, Turkish, and Persian-language channels conducted in late 2021 indicated that SAT-7 is indeed achieving these goals.
- For the women of Iran and other women facing issues of gender inequality across the region
- For SAT-7 PARS Viewer Support teams as they encourage and pray for those reaching out