Iran’s Muslim Clergy, media call for acceleration of punishment to Christians
Shiite clerics and media in Iran have stepped up a deliberate campaign recently that is designed to quell and intimidate religious minorities through threats and intimidation, especially Christians.
Much of the persecution comes from the militia and media that is linked to security forces, and is particularly focused on Muslims who have converted to Christianity, according to Assist News.
An article in Mohabat News noted that the gravitation of Iranian citizens had been a source of “aggravation” for the government and Islamic clergy, citing the “Pasdaran Militia and media outlets belonging to these organizations” which it said leveraged “ever-increasing pressure on Christian families and those who have recently become Christians,” Assist News reported.
Woman flees country in fear
Human rights groups have slammed “gross violations” by the government against Christians in Iran, including jailing Christians for blasphemy and recently, executing a Christian couple in secret, This is Derbyshire said.
Even just being found with a bible in one’s bag can lead to fear of death. This was the experience of Mina Aminoo, who has fled to the U.K. where she is seeking asylum, after police in Tehran told her, “Be very afraid. You have done a bad thing by having a bible,” according to This is Derbyshire.
The 56-year-old woman spent her life savings to get false papers to flee to escape to the U.K. She told This is Derbyshire, “The police were watching me, that’s what they said.”
The bible was found in her handbag at the Iranian airport when she was coming back from a vacation in Turkey. Aminoo told This is Derbyshire, “I was told that it was forbidden in Iran for anyone to convert to Christianity and I was asked if I was going to preach the words of the Bible in Iran.”
Aminoo told This is Derbyshire, “I tried to explain that I’d been given the Bible from a woman in the local church in Istanbul – but the police didn’t believe me.” Aminoo was lucky to escape, but many other Christians who are still in Iran continue to face serious danger.
Ayatollah Sobhani from Southern Khoarasan Province, in a meeting with leaders of the Islamic Guidance Foundation warned of the activities of “false” Christians referring to Protestants and born-again Evangelicals, Assist News said.
Sobhani did not define “false Christians,” but said, “[T]hese Christian evangelists have converted 600 people to Christianity in the city of Neyshabour.” He did not mention where he got his statistics, according to Assist News.
However, Assist News noted that Sobhani’s claims came after another Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani, claimed to have statistics of Christian converts from Islam in Qum City.
Khorasani slammed Iran’s government and security forces, saying they were neglecting this issue. He demanded forceful action. He also criticized Pope Benedict XVI whom he accused of working actively to spread Christianity in Iran, Assist News said.
Khorasani warned the Vatican that if it persists in doing this, there will be a harsh expose against the Catholic Church of issues that will cause it grave harm, according to Assist News.
The article in Mohabat News said, “These confrontations between the security forces with Christians, especially those who have recently become Christians, proves that despite the ongoing suppression of believers and measures that have made life more and more difficult for the Christian community, people still and willingly embrace the Christian faith as their personal belief,” Assist News reported.