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LEBANON: In Muslim Middle East, Jehovah's Witnesses congregate in secret


An elegantly dressed Lebanese woman in a black and white Chanel suit stood up and offered her seat to a Philippine domestic worker, "Please sit, I'll go look for more chairs."

The unusual scene in Lebanon, where wealthy locals more often than not abuse and exploit migrant workers from Asia, was at an undercover Jehovah's Witnesses congregation just outside of Beirut.

Recently, more than 200 Jehovah's Witnesses gathered in the basement of a posh building north of the capital. They divided up into two rooms, one for the English-speaking and one for the Sinhalese-translated session for Sri Lankans.

Unlike other parts of the Arab world, Lebanon is known for its tolerance of multiple religious confessions. But even that has a limit, especially for faiths like Jehovah's Witnesses that are not registered or officially recognized by the government.

It is estimated that there are over 15 "Kingdom Halls," or prayer gatherings, in Lebanon, which for now appear to be tolerated despite fears that participants could be harassed or deported. "My employer is Greek Orthodox, but she likes that I am a Witness," a young Philippine woman explained. "She knows that she can trust me. She lets me come to the meetings."

Unlike in the West, however, she does not go door-to-door preaching. Proselytizing to Muslims is a punishable offense in most Arab countries. Though the Lebanese constitution guarantees freedom of religion, the government relies on a confessional system in which each state-sanctioned religious community holds an independent civil court to adjudicate personal status matters, namely marriage, divorce and child custody. 

Jehovah's Witnesses say they feel like an oppressed and silenced minority. They say that the Maronite community in particular vilifies them. "They spread lies about us, claiming that we are Jews," said an Armenian convert.

Jehovah's Witnesses is a relatively young faith. In the late 19th century, an American named Charles Taze Russell led a Bible study group after the publication of his "Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society." The group dubbed itself Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931. 

Followers believe that the End of Days began in 1914 with Armageddon approaching. They observe only one holiday: The Last Supper of Jesus, or the Memorial Service as they call it. An estimated 18 million adherents regularly attend Kingdom Halls or proselytize worldwide, including in the Arab world. The Council of Elders, based in Brooklyn, oversees the activities of the group, publishes religious materials and disseminates doctrinal interpretations.

The Beirut service began with a warm welcome from one of the "brothers," who then summoned another member to deliver the sermon. He discussed their beliefs, reading from the New Testament and arguing that, after Armageddon, only 144,000 true believers will accompany Jesus as he rules from heaven. 

The witnesses listened solemnly, rising and praying when called to do so. Finally, the preacher concluded, offering to dispatch learned members to the homes of newcomers.

Two Lebanese and two African members walked to the front of the hall to collect a plate of unleavened bread and a glass of red wine. 

Once the memorial concluded, they rose from their seats and chatted quietly with one another. The Ghanaian and Philippine couple rushed their daughter home "to finish homework." A Lebanese man carried his young son on his shoulders; the Lebanese women giggled with their Philippine sisters and most of them gave a smile and a handshake to all new faces.

"I hope to see you Thursday so we can talk next time," a young Liberian man said kindly to an American newcomer. "You are always welcome here."

-- Becky Lee Katz in Beirut

Photo: The front cover of an Arabic-language Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlet. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (169)

Why is it you only find so called bad info about jehovahs witness??

why not muslims or born agains or protestants or buddhists??

why just this particular religion? wasnt jesus hassled and accused and murdered by other religions who claimed he was full of it??

food for thought.

For over one hundred years the Watchtower Organization has been “pulling the wool” over the eyes of its’ members. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are in a “spiritual paradise” where everything is honest, true and in the open. Schemes, scandals, scams and cover-ups define the very organization they belong to. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are now seeing what the Watchtower Organization is hiding behind.

All of the world's religions are wrong about what they preach. Religion has been and will always be big business. There is a lot of money to be made from deceiving the illiterate public. I believe that if every individual that want's to believe in any religion would just open their holy book ( bible, koran, sanskrit...) and start reading each book until they can remember each of the stories in each of those books, they will have a far wider understanding of what the bible actually says.

For example, if you were to start reading all the 39 books that make up the Hebrew scriptures, they would find out that all of what is written is mainly the history of the Jews. They would find out that all of what's been written in the Greek Scriptures is not for present day people, but for people that lived more than 2000 years ago. You don't believe? read the beginning of each of the letters from Paul. What do you see? You see that each letter was sent to a particular person or a particular congregation of that era and not to some person or congregation in the distant future. You see that each letter talks about things that are going to happen to who ever he was writing to and not to people in the present.

How much information do you have about each of the books in the bible. Here is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Have you read the letter to the Hebrews? The name of that book gives you a very big hint as to whom the letter is intended to. Today you have some idiot that stands in front of a pulpit and that idiot will tell you that the letter to the Hebrews is actually written for you. Anyone with 1/3 of a brain will figure out that that is just not the case, but you will need to read the letter to the Hebrews to be able to understand that.

Don't become another cash cow for these silly man that claim to have been sent by God. Learn what your holy book actually says and then compare what you've learned to what these clowns are teaching, you will see a difference.

The A,B,C 1 2 3 of JW Issues

Jehovah's Witnesses would be obscure and no one would say anything negative about them except they cause these problems:

1) break up families under the guise of Jesus said so.

2) let kids die from no blood transfusion then say it's from God and then have all kinds of you can use blood parts loopholes.

3) go door to door and lie about why they are really there say it's to encourage Bible reading when they want to get literature in your hands ask for donation and then come back bothersome because you took literature just to be nice to them.

Get rid of these 3 things and you will do fine.

sniffffffffffff sniff sniff hoo boo hoo.
WE used to have a doll in the 60s called "Poor Pitiful Pearl"
Lets change it to "Poor Pitiful Danny".
sniff sniff sniff. (Anybody got a kleenex????)

If you find yourself in a Christian Religion which continually lures you with statements that the due time (1914 date) for the end has approached then it gives the individual Christian and opportunity to obey Jesus Christ.

Luke 21:8
He said: "Look out that YOU are not misled; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, 'I am he,' and, 'The due time has approached.' Do not go after them."
(Think of Jehovah's Witnesses 1914 date Jesus second coming)

Do not go after them!

A true Christian is someone who obeys Jesus Christ and rejects false cults like Jehovah's Witnesses. JW FACTS

Everyone should read for themselvs and come to their own conclusions.

The Watchtower Jehovah's Witnesses organization has vacillated on its position concerning blood in recent years. Many blood fractions are now allowed that were forbidden. A number of its members died that could have survived under the present rules. Sadly, the Watchtower leadership takes no resonsibility for this.

Jehovah’s Witnesses canvass Watchtower literature door to door with a false 1914 Gospel and ask for donations for this literature

They complain about how bad the world is doing but do very little to nothing in charitable works. Have they run a food bank , run a clothing drive? No they litter the landscape with magazines. They can’t even be green friendly.

99% of their dogmas are bogus they take and take and take…. Elkhart Indiana NOTICE:Judicial Committee Kingdom Hall Jehovah's Witnesses Elkhart Indiana

Steve Klemetti Jehovah's Witnesses troll is apostate to the Watchtower governing body say's everybody can just go do their own thing

Steve Klemetti is the most prolific JW poster TROLL with about 20 sock-puppet user names
Steve Klemetti is a Jehovah's Witnesses troll who is APOSTATE to the Watchtower say's JW don't need the Watchtower society.

Apostates! How sad that you have to write lies about JW.

i am seeking for ANY jehovah witnesses from Lebanon PLEASEE !!!!!!!!!!

Anyone is this true?

"The Jehovah's Witnesses leadership the Governing body of the Watchtower Society apparent coersion is not in the religious activities of the members, but more if and when the members wish to leave, and no longer wish to be recognized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, more often due to finally learning of WTS history of doctrinal error while claiming to be God's sole "channel of communication" and "spokesman" chosen by God , and being led by God's spirit to their numerous erroneous, speculative and perpetually re-interpretations of scripture, that is doctrine taught as the only "truth", and to be accepted unquestioned.

Even if that person has been in 'good standing' morally upright, up to the moment they submit their letter to disassociate, Watchtower leadership denigrates and vilifies, and defames that person's reputation within the international organization, as an apostate, against God and Christianity, which is to be treated as a moral deviant, never greeted or associated with, to await certain destruction from God.

I thought that was a human rights violation, freedom of conscience, opinion, as anyone wanting to leave with the dignity, and reputation they came with cannot, and because of that, members do feel 'coersed' to stay to avoid the truama that Watchtower promises."

250,000 Jehovah's Witnesses have died since 1945 due to the No blood transfusion ban of "whole blood".You can't fool the general population of readers on this as we all hear about the deaths on the news all the time.

Jehovah's Witnesses have NO Public Charity once in a while like in hurricane Katrina they will send out a few crews to rebuild members homes (and collect the insurance money).Then they exaggerate it 10X to uses as propaganda.
Where is the JW charity? No pantries,missions for poor nothing at all.

The fact that the Watchtower society has Shills who systematically post false propaganda is a testimony to their calculated deceit.

JW's are present all over the world (over 230 countries). I was surprised to see comments denying them having a share in rescue work after disaster. They were among the first to help in Haiti after the recent earthquake (as they did after the Lousiana typhoon), they helped Witnesses and non witnesses. They did send supplies and medical assistance. Their doctors performed operations and saved many lifes (without using blood by the way).
They did rebuilt many houses in various countries after floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters- they just do not show up like other religious groups.
Regarding blood transfusions, please see the advertisement from the Australian Red Cross warning citizens against the use of blood transfusions and the dangers of blood.
(over 6,000 died in France with contaminated blood products, as thousands died recently in China. Nobody dies from refusing a blood transfusion, people die because of sickness or accident. Radio/TV Canada had an interesting program explaining about blood conservation and the limited life span of blood pouch, non blood surgery is very popular now in many countries).
Read the latest book from a famous French Doctor specialist in cancer treatment, explaining how wise people were in the past when they refused to consume blood and use to bleed their meat. It has now been discovered that cancer cells are developing rapidly when you eat cooked blood or when you burn blood -like blood sausages on a barbecue...
Of course many people are misled by disappointed persons, some having left JW's because of their conduct (gross immorality, stealing, using drugs) and trying to justify themselves (willing to pursue their sad course)- how can they be happy? The best is to do like the Bereans of the first century; they did investigate things before becoming Christians, then they stick to their commitments despite persecutions and did not try to change their religion for ,personal convenience.
Nobody becomes one of JW's in a few seconds, it takes along time. Nobody is obliged to become a witness, you make a free choice. It is very easy to leave, but you have consequences, but it is a choice of life, you cannot have the best of 2 worlds. But the source of wisdom comes from God and his Word, not from man. It is so easy to criticize (you will always find something wrong in an imperfect world), much more difficult to upbuild and encourage and try to offer other options that will really help your neighbours to face their daily problems.
If 7 millions JW's were so bad, why 13 millions are joining them at the moment, succeeding to have peace among themselves and coping with many
day to day difficulties and offering practical solutions to shun alcohol, tobacco, family problems, jobs scarcity....?

I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and can tell you that they are a dangerous doomsday cult that tears families apart. If anyone you know is thinking of studying with this group please do as much research as you can about the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Listen to the critics and former members of the group.

There is a very good reason why so many people are coming forward to warn the public about this group. I was kicked out of the religion and shunned by my parents and everyone else at my church because I had a boyfriend who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness. I was also accused of abandoning God because I wanted to go to college.

They discourage their members from getting an education. My parents have not spoken to me in five years. They are supposed to treat former members as if they are dead, even close family members. Look past the fake smiles when they come to your door. They are attempting to recruit you and your family into their organization.

It was good that people who might otherwise hate and kill each other can sit in peace as Christians.
I have to say that there is much exaggeration and misinformation on this board. People make wild, unproven statements here. Some claiming it is to "warn" when it really is lies to turn them against the Witnesses. For example, someone writes they " fanatically intrude door to door to recruit new converts." Actually, Christ preached and commanded his followers to do so. If anyone has read "Acts" in the bible, they know that Paul and the early Christians greatly preached and it isn't a thing made up by the Witnesses.
Who are the Witnesses? Ex-soldiers, organized crime bosses, sports and movie stars, etc,,people from all walks of life who change and fight to live by Christ's standards.

Like Jake Fuller said among the just 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses , those who commit"gross immorality" are kicked out of the organization, to the tune of 50,000 60,000(see link below)... yearly...and those are the 'unrepentent' ones Jake Fuller says are ..bitter! Well you will recognize them by their fruit Jesus said. How many commit "gross immorality" and are repentent and are not kicked out cannot even imagine.

Actually if any group is spreading hate - it is the JWs. They complain about how bad the world is doing but do very little to nothing in charitable works. Have they run a food bank ,built a house for Habitat for Humanity , run a clothing drive. No they litter the landscape with magazines. They can't even be green friendly

There is clearly a lot of vitriol spinning around the Witnesses, which is of course exactly what they expect--it's been prophesied.
Convenient that a systematized culture of insularity, sexual discrimination, legal manipulation, child abuse and isolation, and brainwashing tends to bring that up in people.
Presto!--self-fulfilling prophecy, made to order.
Nobody here 'hates' JW's please do not hurl the "H" (hate) bomb.
Jehovah's Witnesses think that they are the one true religion and fanatically intrude door to door to recruit new converts.
You are not the true religion you have many false teachings and have hurt people,so goes the negative comments.
Thank you,peace.

[[ Isn't it striking that those that have been involved and "fallen" from the Jehovah's Witnesses have strikingly similar experiences to those who were involved with and "fell" from Scientology?]]

One comment about all the negative comments directed toward Jehovah's Witnesses...

I always find it so funny that an article about any topic mentioning JW's is often overwhelmed by anti-JWs who have an axe to grind.

Moreover, the comments by these spouts of misinformation are really almost comical. They jump all over the place and touch on so many ridiculous things.

A note to non-JWs reading this...More often than not, those that post anti-JW comments are either knowingly trying to mislead or ignorant. Many are angry because they have been kicked out of the JW organization due to gross immorality...they are bitter and want to spread lies.

My suggestion...if you want to know about the religion, get a bible and answer the door when they knock.


The central core doctrine of the Watchtower,the reason they came into existence was to proclaim Jesus Christ second coming in 1914.They will now deny that they ever made this claim,that's called *bait & switch*

The Watchtower is big money, being one of the top 40 New York City Corporations making nearly one billion dollars a year.That’s just from one of their many corporations.They pay no municipal taxes on their buildings,without even one charity to compensate the community.
Most Church's don't pay taxes either,but most mainstream churches are abundant in humanitarian charities.Think if you have ever seen a Jehovah Witness food pantry or soup kitchen for the needy?

For 50 plus years the masthead of the Watchtower,viewed when you opened up to the inside front cover would read as follows:
"This magazine(Watchtower) builds up confidence in the Creators PROMISE of a peaceful and secure *new world* before the generation *that witnessed" the events of 1914 passes away*.
By their own admission the Watchtowers has published this dogma in hundreds of millions of pieces of their own literature.
They deleted this false Adventist millerite derived prophecy in 1995 because it had FAILED.
The Watchtower leadership has *purged* hundreds of thousands of followers over the years for failing to uphold the 1914 (Jesus came to power) loyalty oath to this now defunct dogma.The Bible clearly warns to turn away from false prophets.

Jehovah's Witnesses and *persecution*.

Unlike in the case of Christians who are persecuted in other lands for talking about Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses are largely persecuted for following the teachings begun during the second presidency of the Watchtower, when Joseph F. Rutherford took over in a corporate flap and began changing doctrines quickly in the Watchtower belief system.

He claimed that angels directly conveyed *truth* to some of those in leadership. He coined the name *Jehovah’s Witnesses* to make them stand out from being witnesses of Jesus, a typical evangelical expression (and a Biblical one).
Rutherford dumped holidays, birthdays and the 1874 date for the invisible return on Christ, and invented an *earthly class* of Witnesses, since only 144,000 can go to heaven in their teaching. The rest, meaning all 99.9% of Witnesses still alive, will live forever on a cleansed earth, under the rule of the Watchtower leaders in heaven, who will keep them in line by local elders known as *Princes.*

If you have been *witnessed to* by Jehovah’s Witnesses and you reject their message, you will likely die *shortly* at Armageddon with all the other non-Witnesses, since theirs is the only true religion, and (if they can live up to all the rules) they are the only ones to inhabit this *new earth.*

To even vocally question the teachings of the Watchtower will result in complete cutting off, with family and friends usually being forbidden to talk to them. The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world, in a time when Orwellian societies are nearly obsolete.

Witnesses are shrinking in number in many Western countries,as the Internet facilitates the spread of information,much of it critical of the Witnesses.

The Watchtower strives hard to control the flow of information to the individual Witness, and prefers that all instruction come through the magazines they carry door-to-door. Without this form of control, even as they themselves admit, they would believe just the same as other Bible believers.
Danny Haszard Jehovah's Witness for 33 years and 3rd generation.

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