Iran’s crackdown on Christians and other religious minorities continues to shock the conscience. They systematically violate the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act and that is why the U.S. has designated the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern.” As the regime faces increasing internal unrest, the more it will crack down on religious minorities it perceives is threatening its stranglehold on religion. Since 1979, the Islamic Republic’s ruling Shia establishment has viewed any alternative belief system, including Christian and Baha’i faiths, as a threat to Shia dominance in the country.
The regime has jailed thousands in Iran for their religious beliefs. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that each of these Iranians has a name, has a family, and has a story.
Fatemeh Mohammadi, a 21-year-old Christian convert, preferred to be known as Mary, was arrested last week in Tehran and taken to an unknown location. Article18, a London nonprofit dedicated to the protection and promotion of religious freedom in Iran, reports that Mary was arrested two years ago at a house church meeting and spent six months in the notorious Evin Prison. Since that time, Mary has publicly advocated for all Iranian Christians to be permitted to go to church. Compared to the advocacy work and publicity about human rights in Iran, she believes not enough is known about the situation of Christians in Iran. Her hope is that one day they will be able to “have a place to praise God, without security guards.”
INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM HEADLINESRev. Lawan Andimi, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was gruesomely murdered by the terrorist group, Boko Haram because he refused to be converted to Islam.
The Dangers of Religious Social Networking In China. Believers not only face the risk of arrest for gathering in unlicensed places of worship – even joining a religion-affiliated group online may lead to persecution.
WHAT WE ARE READING
The Open Doors 2020 World Watch List—ranking the 50 most dangerous countries to be a Christian. The just released report reveals that the number of Christians facing high levels of persecution has jumped to more than 260 million—15 million more people on the World Watch List in only one year.
January 27 marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day in which we commemorate the slaughter of millions by the Nazi regime during World War II. In the decades following, many writers have penned heartrending accounts of life during this period. We are reading Born Survivors by Wendy Holden, a remarkable true story of three mothers who defied death to give their children life.
Photo caption: Fatemeh Mohammadi, a 21-year-old Christian convert, credit: Article18