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.

Persecution Fridays: Iran

February 4, 2011 at 10:49 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: Government Cracks Down

Since Christmas, more than 70 Christians have been arrested in Iran in a large, well-coordinated strike. Most of those arrested belong to the house church movement. Many were released from custody, but a dozen or more remain in detention. Those charged with trying to convert Muslims face the possibility of a death sentence. Officials say that more detentions are possible, and Tehran’s governor said in a recent speech that evangelicals are “corrupt and deviant.”

According to a Washington Times report, Saman Kamvar of the Iranian Christian News Agency attributes the increased persecution of evangelicals to remarks made last year by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei denounced the house church movement during a speech on Oct. 19, warning Iranians against the “network of house churches” that “threaten Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims.”

Christians, including traditional groups such as Armenians, Assyrians and Chaldeans, make up less than 1 percent of the population. About 0.2 percent are evangelical Christians, and many of those are part of the house church movement. Because the Iranian government cannot monitor them, house churches present a greater threat than historically established churches.

VOM works closely with house churches in Iran, supporting them with literature, Bibles and other ministry tools. Contacts tell us that Iranians are very open to the gospel right now, after a generation of living under the heavy hand of Islam. House churches are growing daily as Iranians trust Christ with their lives. Pray that these recent arrests will only strengthen the commitment of new Christians. Pray that house church leaders who are under surveillance will find creative ways to continue sharing the gospel.

Persecution Fridays: Iran

September 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm | 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: Imprisonment Continues

Neshan Saeedi, a 27-year-old Christian, has not been seen since his arrest by government authorities in July, according to the Farsi Christian News Network.

On July 24, Saeedi was at home with his wife and young daughter in the city of Ahvaz, Iran, when plainclothes security officers entered his house and arrested the family. Security officers searched the home and seized personal belongings, including a computer, CDs containing films of Christian seminars and teachings, Christian books, Bibles and family photo albums.

The family was taken to the Chaharshir detention center in Ahvaz, where they were interrogated for several hours before Saeedi’s wife and daughter were released. Officers threatened Saeedi’s wife, saying if the family continued its Christian activities their daughter might be taken away. The family was accused of threatening Iran’s national security by participating in anti-government activities. They were further accused of being spies of foreign powers and of leading people to a pro-Israel ideology.

The house church that Saeedi’s family attended has stopped meeting out of fear for their lives and the possibility of further arrests. Government authorities are thought to be actively seeking the arrest of two of the house church leaders.

This incident is the latest arrest of believers in Iran in recent months. VOM encourages you to pray for Neshan Saeedi’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Ask God to protect his wife, daughter and the other church leaders, and pray that God will grant courage and boldness to all Iranian believers.


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