Iran: Persecution Continues

April 20, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Persecution Continues

Authorities burst into a private home in Shiraz on Feb. 8, 2012, and arrested a group of believers who had gathered for worship. Iranians who convert from Islam to Christianity must worship in private homes because leaving Islam is forbidden by Iran’s Islamic government. Security officers confiscated Bibles, books, DVDs, teaching booklets, computers and a satellite dish.

Between seven and 10 Christian were arrested, but Mohabat News was able to confirm the identities of only seven. Those arrested include Mojtaba Hosseini, who was previously arrested in May 2008 and charged with being a Christian; Fariba Nazemian, Homayoung Shokoohi and their 17-year-old son, Nima; a woman named Sharifeh Dookh; and two other men, Vahid Hakkani and Masoud Golrooyan. The whereabouts of these believers is unknown.

Christians who are detained are usually interrogated and pressured to renounce their faith. In this case, family members of those arrested have not been contacted by authorities, and they have no idea where their loved ones are being held. These are just the latest in a series of arrests and detentions of Christians that the Iranian government has carried out since before Christmas 2011.

In another attempt to suppress Christian activities, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence on Feb. 10 ordered the last two officially registered Christian churches to discontinue their Farsi-language services on Fridays, most Iranians’ day off. The churches may still hold Farsi services on Sunday, when most Iranians are not able to attend church. Membership in both churches has already dropped by half, according to Compass Direct News.

The Iranian government also increased Internet censorship this month by blocking secure websites, including Google’s Gmail, Yahoo mail, Twitter and some bank sites. The police commander of Iran’s cyber unit told Mohabat News, “We’ll shut down anti-religion blogs and websites and any sites seeking to cause religious sedition in cyberspace.” The government followed through with its threat. Within a week, the Iranian government had blocked the website of a VOM partner.

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