‘Christian Netflix Service Reaching Mideast Persecuted Believers’

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

NICOSIA/EASTON (Worthy News) – “Isolated Christians in the Middle East,” including many struggling to survive, use their smartphones to connect with other believers through the “region’s first-ever faith-based video-on-demand service,” a Christian broadcaster says.

SAT-7 PLUS, comparable to the Netflix video streaming service, provides day and night faith-based programs in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish across the Middle East and North Africa.

A year after launching, it “has become a spiritual lifeline for those who must live out their faith in secret in a region that’s only 3 percent, Christian,” said Christian broadcaster SAT-7.

The free video-on-demand service — described as “virtually uncensorable” — penetrates even remote mountain areas and deserts, it claimed in a statement seen by Worthy News.

“Meeting and worshipping with other believers is a matter of life and death for Christians in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa,” said Shady (pronounced Sha-dee) Francis, Arabic digital director for media ministry SAT-7.

The channel gives those facing persecution in, for instance, Iran and Afghanistan the “previously unimaginable opportunity” to “join other believers worshipping in their language in real-time,” SAT-7 said.


The use of digital and social media is surging in the region, including in Iraq and Syria, “, especially among young people searching for hope and purpose amid war and collapsing economies,” it added.

“We all know that young people are spending more and more time on screens, consuming content that’s often harmful and pushes them further away from God,” said Francis. “The upside is that we’re meeting young people right where they are on social media and video streaming. Every day, the Gospel is changing lives,” he stressed.

More than two-thirds of people in the region use their phones to stream and watch video content, according to SAT-7’s technology director Antoine Karam in the Middle East.

“Amid all their struggles, they’re ready to see God’s love made visible,” he said.

Popular social media platforms such as Facebook — used every day by 90 percent of young people in the Middle East and North Africa — link to the Christian channel’s live streams.

Via messaging apps, viewers “can chat with online counselors who speak their language, understand their struggles, and respond to their questions about faith,” the broadcaster said.


“Many viewers don’t come from Christian backgrounds” in the heavily Muslim region, but “they’re eager to see and know more,” said Francis. “Because they’re raised with the idea that Christianity is a Western religion, they’re often surprised to learn that the Christian faith began here in the Middle East.”

The broadcaster quoted a viewer as saying: “I can’t describe it, but my whole being was filled with the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit.” Another viewer reportedly described the show’s hosts as “children of the Light.”

Launched in 1996, SAT-7 (www.sat7usa.org) has its international headquarters in Cyprus, broadcasting Christian and educational satellite television and online programs to people in the Middle East and North Africa.

It says its mission is to make the “Gospel available to everyone, and support the church in its life, work and witness for Jesus Christ.”

SAT-7 “broadcasts 24/7 in Arabic, Farsi (Persian), Dari, and Turkish, using multiple satellite channels, social media, and online services.”

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