In case after case the Islamic establishment in Iran is attempting to isolate and eliminate the presence of Christianity within its borders. While it may to a limited extent tolerate its small ethnic Christian population it actively harasses, threatens, and imprisons Christians involved in any activity among the majority Persian (Farsi) speaking people. In Iran to become or be a Christian is often treated as a crime against the state and for exercising this basic right there are dozens of Iranians in prison.
By Matthew Clark
7/8/2013 Iran (ACLJ) – Christian persecution in Muslim nations is on the rise.
We see it in the case of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, but he is not the only Christian in chains for his faith. In the Islamic Republic of Iran alone there are countless Christians imprisoned, facing charges or convictions for one crime, apostasy (essentially becoming a Christian in a radical Islamic nation).
The ACLJ’s international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), recently filed a submission in an international legal proceeding detailing Iran’s radical Islamic legal framework and the plight of specific Christians facing intense persecution for their faith.
How does Iran circumvent its own constitution and treaty obligations? First, it claims that converts to Christianity aren’t really Christians deserving of any protections under the law. Second, even though “apostasy” is not a codified crime, Iran makes judicial determinations according to radical Shariah law. In fact, “Article 167 of the Constitution instructs judicial authorities to make their judgments based on ‘authoritative Islamic sources and authentic fatwa,’ rather than dismissing a case for lack of a codified crime or sentence.” In other words, Iranian judges, like that of many radical Islamic nations operating under Shariah law, use the opinions and proclamations of radical clerics in determining that someone is an apostate and must be punished under Islamic law, and in an alarming number of cases even executed. In short, Christian conversion is anathema to the Islamic regime.
As a result, “prosecutors often bring charges against Christians, asserting that their Christian activities amount to crimes such as ‘propaganda against the Regime’ and ‘acting against national security.’ The reality is, although Iran acknowledges constitutional protections, it fails to uphold them for its Christian community.”
Since 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president, “the rate at which Christians are arrested, interrogated, detained, and prosecuted in violation of their fundamental human rights has dramatically increased.”