Rumors of Imminent Execution of Iranian Pastor Unconfirmed: Lawyers for Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is awaiting a final decision on his death sentence, have not received official communication from authorities that their client will be executed. Rumors of an imminent execution of Yousef Nadarkhani were leaked last week after a source close to one of his lawyers contacted international media, informing them that a lower court had signed Nadarkhani’s execution papers and that his death sentence would be carried out soon. Compass Direct News reported that, according to their sources, Nadarkhani was confirmed to be alive as of February 24th. We continue to pray for his safety. Read more>>

Washington Silent on China’s Snub of Religious Freedom Envoy: Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, was denied a visa to China earlier this month. Washington was silent about the snub of the State Department official prior to  the visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping last week. The silence from Washington was deafening according to Open Doors Advocacy Director, Lindsay Vessey, “This is basically demonstrating to the Chinese government that religious freedom really isn’t that important to this administration, that they’re not willing to stick their neck out and speak publicly.”  Read more>>

Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom: The Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom asks each candidate to commit to making domestic and international religious liberty a priority in his or her administration. We are eager to have all candidates sign on to this important pledge. You can help this effort by signing a petition that urges all candidates to sign the pledge. Take a moment to sign the petition now. To learn more please go to www.pledgeforreligiousfreedom.com

“War on Christians” is Newsweek Cover Story: Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s article The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World was the cover story for Newsweek in their February 6th edition. In her article she states that in the wake of the Arab Spring “a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.” Read more>>

Korea Announces Plan to Release Prisoners: North Korea has announced the amnesty of prisoners to commemorate deceased leaders Kim ll-Sung and Kim Jong-ll. 2012 is the 100th birthday (in April) of Kim ll-Sung, who died in 1994, and the 70th birthday (in February) anniversary of his son, who passed away last December.  Only prisoners that have been “re-educated” are eligible to be released.  Religious and political dissidents are unlikely to be among the released prisoners as they are deemed “uncurable.” Read more>>

Churches Forced to Stop Farsi Worship in Iran: On February 10th Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence ordered the last two officially registered churches holding Farsi-language worship on Fridays to discontinue these services. Emmanuel Protestant Church and St. Peter’s Evangelical Church were the last two official churches offering Farsi-language services on Fridays in Tehran. Friday services in Tehran attracted the city’s converts to Christianity as well as Muslims interested in Christianity, as Friday is most Iranians’ day off during the week. Authorities told the churches they can hold the services on Sunday, a working day when most Iranians are not able to attend. Read more>>

Features

Heaven's Metal: An Oral History of the Genesis of Christian Metal

Heaven's Metal

When rock emerged from blues and 'heavy metal' began to surface, faith-based metal acts also rose to start their own journeys. Initially shunned by both believers and non-believers, they were fighting for their spot at the table, ultimately building a legacy that would go on to change the genre forever. HM presents an oral history of the beginning of Christian metal music, featuring Guardian, Tourniquet, Holy Soldier, Whitecross, and, of course, Stryper.

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Atreyu- 2021

Atreyu's Baptism

At their core, Atreyu is a hard rock band with metal riffs and pop choruses. Now, after more than 20 years, the band has stepped boldly into their next chapter with a change in lineup and an album that proves the lifeblood of Atreyu is stronger than ever.

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Photo by Ashley Osborn

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Imperial Triumphant - 2021

Alphaville’s Metal Renaissance

With influences that span Miles Davis and Stravinsky to Geddy Lee and Les Claypool, jazz metal force Imperial Triumphant is the epitome of genre-bending. HM contributing writer Andrew Voigt spoke with the band about their unique style, the massive bass presence in their music, and the rise and fall of civilization.

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Photo by Alex Krauss

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