Internet, talk of switching off the world wide web

Wednesday, June 01st, 2011

Iran was one of the first countries in the Middle East to go on line and now more than 33 million Iranians love the World Wide Web and all it brings. But not all in the government are happy. There is the fear of Islamic values being undermined, and there is the Internet’s political impact, seen with the 2009 demonstrations that relied heavily on the social networking sites. The authorities have always been vigilant, not hesitating to block thousands of websites they do not like. Many of these sites are pornographic and Iran should be applauded for its stance against the sex trade. However, many other sites, including Christian ones, are also banned.

Now there are reports that Iran is seeking to develop an Iran only Internet, which once developed would mean the whole country could be cut off from the world wide web. If this policy is implemented it is likely it will cause a lot of social stress. Apart from frustrating the millions of Iranians who enjoy communicating with their friends and family outside Iran through Facebook and Skype, and keeping in touch with the wider world, there could also be serious implications for business. There will certainly be serious implications for the church. Christians outside Iran have long been using the Internet to both share the Good News of Christ and teach new believers. All this work would be threatened if this policy is successful.

Pray for

• Iranian authorities to have wisdom to block evil sites
• Iran stays on line with the rest of the world
• Christians continue to use the net wisely and well