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

Lebanon-jehovahs

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)

What a wonderful witness. It's so great to be a part of this religion!

The Watchtower demands loyalty and if anyone decides to leave because they disagree with doctrine ,the remaining family members are commanded by the religion to shun those who have left.
They will try to spin it so that it looks like some immorality was committed but most of the time that is not the case.
The Watchtower would probably be shocked at the number of members who are still in as elders and ministerial servants who don't believe in the religion anymore but are staying because of the shunning policy.

They have to take such drastic measures because the result would be a divorce or not seeing grandchildren. So yes the Watchtower does encourage family splits.
These pleasant people showing up on your doorstep are wolves in sheep's clothing

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/jw.htm

As the mainstream religions continue to lose members, all that will be left are creepy cults like this. Look at how desperately strident they are in proselytizing and defending their faith. I wonder if the Witnesses ever wonder how much of their money goes to funding legal battles. Wouldn't the money be better spent doing some real good in the world?

Anyone who has suffered loss due to exercising their right toapostasize, change, recant their religion, should file a compliant.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, considers the recanting of a person's religion a human right legally protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: "The Committee observes that the freedom to 'have or to adopt' a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views [...] Article 18.2 bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to their religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert."[5]

http://www.search.com/reference/Apostasy#In_international_law

http://www.search.com/reference/Apostasy

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/religion/I2.htm

Very hard (impossible) to stand up for a religion that believes that God wants you to let your own child die when you could clearly save their life, instead.

Hope these well-meaning people find a better religion to devote themselves to - and their families!

REAP what they have SOWN

The Watchtower has been a source of Hate Literature for over 100 years.
Watchtower and other Jehovahs Witness publications have been full of slanderous, half-truth, deceiving, misleading hatefilled articles and lies.

The Jehovahs Witnesses on one hand fill their books and lectures with details about how evil and corrupt every other religion is, but then when theirs is exposed as corrupt they fall back on how it’s *voluntary* to be a member, and how its not nice to say nasty things about them, and how they’re being *persecuted.*


REAP what they have SOWN


Jehovah's Witnesses are considered a dangerous cult in many European countries and definitely under investigation because governments are concerned by the mind manipulation, child molestation cover-ups, breaking up of families due to shunning, as well as other atrocities taking place within the religion.
Victims of Watchtowers hard-line organizational policies are speaking up to government officials about their experiences and they are responding with assistance.
NOTE: I am not a 'former Jehovah's Witness never was one so I cannot be an 'apostate'
I am a US Marine the Watchtower cult recruited my mother while I was In Iraq serving our country,so my concern here.

Quote: "Vinny, you're either lying about being an elder (which is highly likely) or you're just lying about being a Witness (definitely likely). If, in fact, you were a Witness, you wouldn't have posted this untruth. I walked away when I was a teenager, as did other members of my family, and none of us was shunned for it, not by anyone who is still a member of the organization. If you are being shunned, and were an elder to boot, you screwed up bad and you just don't want to take responsibility. Your fault, dude, not theirs. Lots of people make the same claim, that they are being shunned for absolutely nothing. For example, I have a cousin who became a regular drug user, but she doesn't take responsibility for it; it's the JW's fault. I know other people who are "shunned" and I know what they did, and it wasn't nothing, just like you, I'm sure.

No religion is perfect, as we are all aware, but don't place blame where it shouldn't be.

Posted by: SoCalGal | April 17, 2010 at 04:38 PM"

**** My Reply:


BWAAAAAAAAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

You have no clue do you? Yes I was an elder, and yes all I did was no longer accept the ever-changing Watchtower doctrine on blood.

And THAT is all it takes to get disfellowshipped as a JW. (You cannot disagree with JW teachings). But before that happened I instead disassociated. And anybody that leaves the JW religion is shunned the very same way they would be if disfellowshipped.

Which is found NOWHERE in the bible.

I did not do anything wrong at all. The JW faith really is that bad.

Here take another LOOK:

http://www1.tip.nl/%7Et661020/wtcitaten/part1.htm

And all from their own literature.

One thing is for sure, God was never directing any of that!

: )

Vinny

The Watchtower is one grand religious Ponzi scheme. The governing body sits at the top of the pyramid and receives the perks and benefits of being a top insider. To keep the masses in the game , they promise paradise to the rank and file if they obey the governing body. Watchtower reminds me of the religious version of Amway.


It's easy to figure out which comments are Jehovah's Witness fanatics. Very typical. They never seem to be able to refute what is said about them......they just attempt to insult their critics. We all know that JWs with computers are attracted like moths to a flame to any blog that shows up in a Google search of "Watchtower". Tsk....tsk

What a vilified group.
Must be the truth!

"I WAS a JW, and an elder as well, until recently. I am very familiar with how they are actually WORSE than most other faiths today. I am shunned for walking away."

Vinny, you're either lying about being an elder (which is highly likely) or you're just lying about being a Witness (definitely likely). If, in fact, you were a Witness, you wouldn't have posted this untruth. I walked away when I was a teenager, as did other members of my family, and none of us was shunned for it, not by anyone who is still a member of the organization. If you are being shunned, and were an elder to boot, you screwed up bad and you just don't want to take responsibility. Your fault, dude, not theirs. Lots of people make the same claim, that they are being shunned for absolutely nothing. For example, I have a cousin who became a regular drug user, but she doesn't take responsibility for it; it's the JW's fault. I know other people who are "shunned" and I know what they did, and it wasn't nothing, just like you, I'm sure.

No religion is perfect, as we are all aware, but don't place blame where it shouldn't be.

The Watchtower CLAIMS to have 7 million members these are all self-reporting statistics there is no independent verification of this *exaggerated* increase.Scientology also claims millions and is suspected of about 100,000 worldwide. Islam claims 1 BILLION and the Catholic church nearly same.

Remember the Watchtower society (you seen them with the magazines) is a foremost publishing company and propaganda is their game

If a Jehovah’s Witness ever did meet God he’d properly try to teach him the *truth* and convert him.
I was raised a JW. It was a horrendous experience. Our family remains fractured and divided because of this insidious cult. I remain in contact with a few active members and it is quite telling how unhappy and judgemental they are as a group. Certainly nothing of Christ's love in that Kingdoom Hell...
I feel so sad for children that are oppressed within this group. No matter what you are made to feel like you are never good enough. The kids either adapt and get exceptionally skilled at lying or they get depressed (and sadly many kill themselves) as they can see no real way out.
This is a deceptive, high-control cult. Stay away.

Ms. Katz: Thank you so much for helping the world to know the situation of Jehovah's witnesses in Lebanon. This was a well written depiction of the brotherhood that exists among Jehovah's witnesses worldwide, one that takes no account of social status, skin color and that welcomes all that are willing to listen and learn. It has been my privilege to be one of Jehovah's witnesses for 30 years now, and I can tell you that I have seen with my own eyes that the actions you describe are the norm among us. Thank you for reporting that.

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.
http://www.jwfacts.com

JWs insist on their freedom of speech rights but don’t allow rights for others.
Their intolerant.
Never stand between a Jehovahs Witness and his sense of *persecution*.

Praise Jehovah he is the TRUE God !
Jehovah's Witnesses bring the truths of Jehovah God door to door as Jesus did with the hope contained in Watchtower publications.

Jehovah has blessed us as we have the TRUTH and are the one TRUE religion through which all mankind shall be blessed. Read the Watchtower it's spiritual food,nuggets of truth from Jehovah.
Soon we will proclaim the warning message of Armageddon that's when Jehovah will shake the earth and apostates will weep and Nash their teeth.

The origin of all Watchtower teachings that makes them unique over all other religions is their creed of Jesus second coming 'invisibly' in the year 1914.
Why?
The Jehovah's Witnesses actually have roots with the Seventh Day Adventist, they both have common origin in the William Miller apocalyptic movement of the 18th century.
Of course here in 2010 it is quite a stretch to proclaim Jesus advent in 1914 then try to explain "invisible" emperor's new clothes fashion, why everything is all still messed up in the world.

So often the JW revisionist apologist will play the blame game and say 1914 second coming is an invention of ' disgruntled apostates'.

Major failed teaching means Watchtower game over
"This generation" Teaching changes Again! April 15, 2010 Watchtower http://www.dannyhaszard.com/thisgeneration.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-491791/Jehovahs-Witness-mother-dies-refusing-blood-transfusion-giving-birth-twins.html

The link in my previous comment did not work. Here is another link to the mother that died because of refusing blood. There are literally tens of thousands of other cases just like this.

Examine, examine, examine.....

Why do the Jehovah's Witnesses revile this Danny Haszard so much? He speaks only for himself although what he says's is all true.Just do the google thing of the [ Jehovah Witness Watchtower ] and find out .

The WT Society and Jehovah's Witnesses are a man originating, man run, high control religious cult-like institution, rather than what they tell people they are (God's appointed Channel/Organization/People etc etc).

The facts prove without a doubt that God was never behind any of this:

http://www1.tip.nl/%7Et661020/wtcitaten/part1.htm

ALL FROM THEIR OWN LITERATURE!!!

We've got false predictions all over the place, medical disaster policies -FORCED on JW's.

We got flip flops, blinking lights, wacky science, historical failures, arrogance, judging and loads of WT Society embarrassments and humiliations.

God had nothing to do with all that nonsense that was called, "Food from God".

It was wrong when it first came off the presses and into JW's hands.

So why are some today opposed to Jehovah's Witness and their policies?

Dead People is why.

Ruined lives is why.

False prophecies is why.

A controlling Religious Institution is why.

They are WRONG ON BLOOD TODAY (for 66 years now).

They are WRONG ON SHUNNING those that simply walk away from the JW religion today.

They are WRONG 607 BCE and 1914.

They were WRONG ABOUT FORBIDDING Vaccinations, Organ Transplants, Alternative Service.

They were wrong on ALL OF THEIR End of World Predictions. Wrong on marital infidelity rules, rape rules, beards, 1935, Beth Sarim and too many things to bother listing here.

Did God make all of these terrible decisions to force on all the JW's, and then change his mind?

Or did a few old MEN, that make up the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses (sitting up in some Brooklyn office) MAKE these poor decisions, FORCE them on all JW's and then afterwards conveniently change their mind?

Does God serve Bad Food like this?

Perhaps He is not a very good cook?

CHRISTIANITY IS GOD"S ORGANIZATION TODAY. That would mean being a follower of Christ. Not some fraction of Christianity, that has the absolute WORST record of them all in terms of false predictions, doctrinal, medical and oftentimes wacky published as "Food from God" teachings.

Shunning people for disagreements is NOT scriptural.

Shunning people for walking away from the JW faith is NOT scriptural.

This is a CONTROL mechanism. And it often works. It is a gross misapplication of scripture to keep the average JW towing the line. One cannot even think differently!

I WAS a JW, and an elder as well, until recently. I am very familiar with how they are actually WORSE than most other faiths today. I am shunned for walking away. People today and for the last 80 years have died, without reason, due to the WT medical policies forced on all JW's.

Each week is filled with a list of JW obligations that basically OWN YOU. You are told what you can read, what movies are acceptable, what association is acceptable, what facial hair is okay. What you can celebrate and cannot. What words you are allowed to use.

What is allowed in your own bedroom with your wife. And too many other things to list here again. Before knowing all the facts and believing they were God's True Channel, one can go a very long way to justify all of these things. Take away that one true faith belief and so falls the rest.

I have been there and done all that.

JW's are told they cannot take blood transfusions in situations where they might need one (such as through complications with pregnancy or child birth).

So, naturally, more JW mothers will die.

Just like this mother died unnecessarily!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-491791/Jehovahs-Witness-mother-d...

And now her husband has no wife and her two new twins have no mother.

And all for what?

This is why I suggest to anybody thinking of becoming a JW ... to READ READ AND READ UP ON THIS RELIGION FIRST!

The proof will clearly stand out that the JW faith is not what they try to tell people they are!

And for all this nonsense about bloodless medicine and surgeries somehow meaning God is with JW's... (that's a joke, right?)

In many places around the earth they are fortunate to have ANY BLOOD AT ALL TO SAVE A DYING VICTIM IN NEED ... or even a clean, working hospital to go to.

Much less bloodless surgery, fractions of blood or any other options that JW's are forced to look for.

There are times when the only thing that will save a human being is blood right now.

People bleed to death. If they cannot stop the bleeding in time, and with no blood transfusion, then as a JW you will simply die.

Leaving behind all sorts of broken hearts and many tears from loved ones, friends and close family.

If they CAN stop the bleeding, then many times they will still need a blood transfusion to save your life because it takes TIME for your body to generate the new blood and cells that have been suddenly lost.

This is very simple. JW's needlessly die for this sorry blood policy today.

From the same organization that has an entire 100 + year history of similar bad policies.

The facts are irrefutable.

Vinny

 
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