Saturday, January 15, 2011

Commission: Arrests of Christians in Iran is condemnable, incongruous

Religious Liberty Commission
condemns violence in Iran.
Last Saturday, we told you about Iran’s crackdown on Christians and the arrest of dozens, many of whom are converts from Islam.

On Wednesday, the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the World Evangelical Alliance issued a statement condemning violence against Christians in Iran, reports ASSIST News Service.

The statement, released to Christian media, says, “The ongoing raiding of homes and arrests of Christians in predominantly Shi’ite Iran, which began deplorably during the Christmas season, needs to stop immediately.”

The RLC says that since December 26, Iranian security agents in plain clothes have searched the homes of many Christians and arrested at least 40 of them in a crackdown in the capital city of Tehran and a few other places. Other reports indicate more than 70 Christians have been arrested.

The Commission says, “The onslaught, targeting converts from Islam and those engaged in evangelism, continued despite preceding international concerns over the arrest of a pastor, Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani, and conviction of the pastor of the Full Gospel Church in Rasht, Youcef Nardarkhani, for apostasy, leading to awarding of death penalty.”

Tehran’s governor, Morteza Tamadon, was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying that missionary evangelicals had stepped up their activity in Iran, which according to him is a “cultural invasion of the enemy.” The governor went on to say, “Just like the Taliban, who have inserted themselves into Islam like a parasite, [evangelicals] have crafted a movement in the name of Christianity.”

WEA-RLC Executive Director Godfrey Yogarajah said, “The growing authoritarianism in Iran only shows that the regime’s popularity is falling drastically which is making the government highly insecure and unnerved.”

Christians account for only around one percent of the Muslim-majority population in Iran. The Iranian regime also persecutes other minorities, including Zoroastrians, Baha’is and Sufis.

You can read the full report here.

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