Iranian Ayatollah pledges to crackdown on Christian converts
“The speech of Ayatollah Khamenei in 2010 in Qom was a green light to the organized attacks on house churches and religious minorities. Since the establishment of Iran’s 1979 revolution, religious dissidents, Baha’is, Jews and Christians… have been under pressure, invasion and harassment by the Islamic regime.”
3/17/2012 Iran (Mohabat News) – In this period of time, the existence of completely independent media to cover news and reports concerning the growing Iranian Christian community is vital. The purpose and policy of Mohabat News was designed in a way to reflect precise news and reports regarding Christian communities all around the world, especially Iran. The importance of this job is tangible when we see that different media and credible international news services give special attention to Mohabat News and refer to it as one of their trusted sources.
In a report, the news website of Voice of America specifically analyzed stories published on Mohabat News website and saw Christians’ situation in Iran from a special angle. In that report VOA refers to different stories describing the growth of Christianity and house churches, the imprisonment and torture of Christian converts and the security situation of Iranian society. The report itself is too long to repeat here, but the following is a summary of the report. (The complete report can be found on VOA’s website).
The beginning of the crack down on Christians
The news service of VOA wrote, “The speech of Ayatollah Khamenei in 2010 in Qom was a green light to the organized attacks on house churches and religious minorities. Since the establishment of Iran’s 1979 revolution, religious dissidents, Baha’is, Jews and Christians, Christian converts, Zoroastrians, Sunni Muslims and all Islamic faiths other than Shi’ite Islam including Ahl-e-haqs, Gonabadi Darvishes, etc. have been under pressure, invasion and harassment by the Islamic regime. Numerous religious minorities, especially Jews, Christians and Baha’is decided to flee their homeland and migrate to other countries.”
As Iranian Muslims started to convert to Christianity a number of church leaders including Haik Hovsepian (who was killed in Karaj in 1994), Pastor Dibaj, Pastor Mikaelian were killed. Pastor Mikaelian was killed a year after Hovsepian. His body was cut into pieces and put into a freezer. His dismembered body was found some time later. To justify these killings, the Islamic regime launched a security show and accused three members of the People’s Mojahedin organization of Iran as responsible for the killings.
More recently, hundreds of Christians have been subjected to interrogations or imprisonment in Iran. After the 1979 revolution publication of Farsi Bibles was banned, many copies of Bibles were burnt together with drugs and bottles of alcohol. Church services were closed and so Christians started to hold their meetings at their homes. Recently, two churches were also ordered to cancel their Friday services in Farsi, the official language. Christian converts with Islamic backgrounds are under threat of being executed for apostasy as well.