“[The] death penalty for Apostasy from Islam, has been hanging over the collective head of all new converts to Christianity since the 1979 revolution,” Farsi Christian News Network writes to the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran.
2/5/2012 Iran (FCNN) – As the voice of Christian-Iranians, and the suffering church in Iran; FCNN-Farsi Christian News Network- here presents its annual report of our sufferings, and informs you of some of the realities of the injustices perpetrated against the Christian-Iranian community during 2010.
We hope this short list will be a useful contributory factor in your “Report on Human Rights situation in The Islamic Republic of Iran “; to the international community.
1-The Islamic Regime in Iran claims that Christianity is a state recognised religion and its adherents are free to worship according to their faith.
This claim of the Islamic Republic is manifestly untrue. Christians in Iran are actively discouraged and under constant pressure not to attend services. Church attendants must be registered, and lists handed over to organs of State Security and local militia. Services are ordered to be held only on Sundays, a working day in Iran. Sale and distribution of The Holy Bible and sermons in Persian are forbidden, Christian converts can not be Baptized and they are forbidden to enter Churches. Above all they are to follow the Regime’s draconian Public Order and Propaganda requirements to the letter.
For traditional and pre-revolution churches, Compliance with these conditions and clauses are obligatory. If churches follow these mandatory orders, the will by default loose any religious content they have and will not be able to offer any meaningful Christian service, and if they do not follow these authoritarian orders they will face forced closure of the church by organs of Islamic Regime’s State Security . Case in point is Shahr-Ara church in North-Western Tehran, which was closed by direct orders of organs of the Islamic Regime for offering Baptismal and religious services to the new converts.
2- The Islamic Republic claims that Christian are fully represented in the Islamic Parliament by four members of their religion and so enjoy the same rights as the rest of their country folks.
This is yet another false claim. These so called representatives are hand picked by the regime and are primarily used as agents of control and guidance within Armenian and Assyrian communities of Christians..These so called representatives are chosen by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and only the few with voting rights can cast their votes for these selected candidates. The Islamic Regime has restricted the community of Christians in Iran to two national groupings of Armenian and Assyrians, while in international circles, with duplicity and deception, claims to be practicing freedom of religion under the Islam.
3- The Islamic Republic claims that there are open and active churches, and freedom of religion, where Christians are free to practice their faith.
This claim is also one-sided and deceptive, made primarily to deceive the international community. Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, with rapid population growth which has more than doubled the populace during the 32 years of Islamic Regime, not even one new Church building has been allowed to be built. New buildings are not allowed and repairs are to existing buildings are forbidden. Repair restrictions have caused the closure of “Kelisaye Jamia’t Rabbani” in Kermanshah in western regions, and deliberate destruction of “Saint Adreas’ Church” of Kerman in central Iran.
4- Islamic Republic claims equal rights for its Christian citizens with the Moslem majority, free from any institutional discrimination .
This is but a bare faced lie. The relentless pressure on Islamization at educational establishments, forces many students to leave before graduation from high schools.
In Iran under the yoke of the Islamic Regime, Christians have no opportunity for further education, as non-Muslim students are not eligible for necessary grants and placement. This is particularly more worrying amongst the new converts to Christianity; as conversion from islam can quickly lead to expulsion.
Recent research shows an alarming decline in educational standards amongst Christian-Iranians.