The Iran Threat

In Iran, Christians Considered a “National Security” Threat Because of Their ‘Dangerous’ Beliefs

Iran has been seriously clamping down on Christians lately with dozens of individuals arrested in Kerman.

BY Bruce Cornibe · | October 11, 2016

As the name indicates, the Islamic Republic of Iran is an officially Muslim country with a high percentage of its population adhering to the religion of Islam. Largely because of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the power given to Islamic clerical authority, religious minorities have faced significant persecution at the hands of the country’s version of Shia Sharia law.

One of these groups happens to be Christians, who according to Open Doors numbers around 450,000 people (likely a conservative estimate) – in a country with a total population around 80 million. Even though the Christian Church is underground (ex. people’s homes) in Iran, the Iranian authorities still feel the need to crackdown on Christian believers. One case involves the arrest of four Christians, the UK’s Express reports:

The four Christians will appear in court on October 15 in Iran following raids by the morality police which saw the authorities confiscate their phones, computers and bibles as the regime clamps down on Christianity.

Security agents raided the home of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in May this year, according to Middle East Concern.

The church leader was sentenced to death in 2010 after being charged with abandoning Islam but was later acquitted and jailed for three years for evangelising.

Police in Tehran arrested Mr Nadarkhani and his wife Tina alongside Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi, who also face flogging for drinking Holy Communion wine.

Mr Nadarkhani and his wife were released later that day, but the others were detained and interrogated for several weeks before being released on bail.

Now the authorities have charged them with acting against national security, a charge commonly put against Christian converts in Iran, that can be punished with a penalty of up to five years in jail.

While a number of ethnicities makeup Iran’s population (ex. Azeris, Kurds, Lurs, Arabs), Persians comprise a majority of the people and are seen by some as a means of preserving Iran’s Persian history, culture, language (Farsi), etc. Open Doors reveals how ethnic Persians are automatically labeled as Muslim in Iran; thereby, one with this ethnicity that adheres to Christianity could end up even being sentenced to death. So much for faith being a conscious and sincere choice rather than a duty upon birth. Of course, death for ‘apostasy’ is in line with a literal interpretation of Islamic texts (ex. Sahih Bukhari 4.52.260, Sahih Bukhari 9.83.37, Sahih Bukhari 9.84.57).

Iran has been seriously clamping down on Christians lately with dozens of individuals arrested in Kerman. With a more emboldened Iran, thanks in large part to Obama’s nuclear deal, one doesn’t likely see the persecution of Christians or other religious minorities under Tehran’s influence stopping anytime soon. As Iran seeks hegemony in the Middle East we will continue to see the expanding of its Sharia-based values.



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