Persecution Fridays – Iran

June 24, 2011 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: Cleric Admits Failures

Iran’s religious leaders continue to denounce Christianity in their speeches and meetings. In an April 2011 speech, Islamist hardliner Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is known as a mastermind of the government’s strategy against Christians, called for greater government action against Christians in Iran. Yazdi admitted that government actions aimed at destroying Christianity have thus far failed.

“In connection with the growth of Christianity in some of the provinces, the actions taken by the government and the judicial authorities and the massive funding of such programs have not achieved the desired results,” Yazdi said during a meeting with the heads of the Islamic Propagation Center of Qum. Yazdi, who is famous for his extremist Shiite beliefs, blamed an undisciplined attitude and lack of proper supervision for the government’s failure to contain Christianity. “Today there are many websites that are fighting against Islamic ideology, and one must consider that responding to these sites is a very valuable thing,” Yazdi said.

In a speech last year, one year after the tumultuous presidential election in Iran, Yazdi called the widespread protests in response to the election a “menace.” According to Mohabat News, Yazdi demanded that “this country-wide menace must be controlled like a virus.” He then accused the republic’s enemies — those protesting the elections — of anarchy and of allowing “false religions” like house-church Christianity to spread.

Another religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, has also warned against the ever-increasing activities of Christians, according to Mohabat News. Sobhani lamented the fact that 600 people have converted to Christianity in one city.

Mohabat News reports that Christian persecution has subsided in Iran as infighting continues between the religious elite and government officials. However, the ayatollahs’ recent warnings have increased public indignation and hatred against Christians and other religious minorities.

Persecution Fridays: Iran – “Dismantle Evangelism”

March 25, 2011 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: Dismantle Evangelism

Iran’s Religious Leaders Continue Public Attacks on Christianity

Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani spoke out against Christianity and evangelism during a recent religious class at the Islamic seminary in Qom, Iran. On Wednesday, March 9, Khorasani stated, “People [in Iran] have become Christians, and Shiite youths are being misled by Christianity.” His statements were published on the government website “Ayandeh.”

Khorasani told his students, “There is no one to tell to the government officials what this misled and distracted Christian evangelism is doing even in Qom.” Qom, an important religious city for Shiites, is home to the largest center for Shiite scholarship in the world. “Christian-deviated teachings are being diverted to our nation,” Khorasani said. “If the authorities even assume that something is going to shake their power, they will confront it with full force, but they do nothing against these evangelists who are misleading our Shiite youth population.”

Khorasani joins several other religious and political leaders in acknowledging the rapid growth of Christianity in Iran and criticizing the government’s inaction. During an October 2010 visit to Qom, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned against the growth of house churches in Iran. He called house churches “enemies of Islam.” Using similar rhetoric, the governor of Tehran Province, Morteza Tamaddon, has called Christians “radicals who want to corrupt and divert the body of Islam.”

The inflammatory words of Iran’s leaders seem to reflect a rising fear of Christianity within the government. In recent months, Christians in Iran have faced a systematic wave of arrests, and new converts from Islam have been especially targeted. More than 200 Christians have been imprisoned since Christmas. To date, 20 of them have seen no progress in their cases, and they continue to face difficult circumstances inside detention centers.

Evidence of the Iranian government’s disdain for Christianity continues to mount. During a routine inspection of a bus at a border crossing recently, the office of Contraband Search and Seizure, along with members of the revolutionary guard, discovered two boxes containing 300 New Testaments each. The revolutionary guards seized the boxes and burned the Bibles.


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