09/18/2019 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Mustafa Rahimi, an ordinary shopkeeper and unassuming citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was recently arrested for an offense against the wellbeing of the country. His crime was the sale of a Bible from his bookstore in the town of Bukan, an act which has been deemed illegal by the Iranian government.
Bukan, a predominantly Kurdish township in Persian Kurdistan, lies along the Iraqi border in the province of West Azerbaijan. This area, being on the far frontier of the Iranian territories and often culturally sharing more in common with several foreign peoples, is consistently under intense scrutiny by intelligence officers and political officials.
Rahimi was originally arrested for his unlawful sale in mid-June in this year, but was released on bail shortly thereafter. However, only a few weeks ago in mid-August, he was arrested once again and sentenced, without the opportunity to pay bail, to three full months and one day of prison time. Some sources, however, suggest he was issued a term of prison time effectively twice that length, at six months and one day.
Regardless of the genuine length of the punishment, this event and others like it are emblematic of the continuing harsh repression of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran During the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in July, President Trump met with several victims. One young Christian commented, “[Christian converts] have no rights in our country. I am standing here today to raise awareness”. Also in July 2019, a total of nine Christians were charged with “acting against national security” because of the presence of Bibles and Christian literature in their homes.
Please pray for justice on the behalf of innocent citizens like Rahimi in the increasingly harsh cultural climate of the Iranian republic.
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