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02/14/2020 Iran (International Christian Concern) –  Iran’s religious establishment has banned Valentine’s Day as a western cultural onslaught, with some voicing their approval of eliminating a non-Iranian holiday with roots in Christianity. The government has long tried—often unsuccessfully—to prevent Iranians from celebrating Valentine’s Day. On February 11th, the Center for Reduction and Control of Social Harms of the Prosecutor’s Office in Qom provided a phone number for people to call to report those who celebrate this holiday.

Valentine’s Day is banned from several countries, including Saudi Arabia, for similar reasons. While Valentine’s Day in the West may at times feel far removed from its Christian roots, Islamic countries are often more sensitive to this history. Iran has tried to propose alternatives to Valentine’s Day, such as the anniversary of the marriage of Mohammed’s daughter, but with no success.

Iranians are exhausted of the government’s strict control of conscience and lifestyle, often pushing them far from the Islam which the authorities try to protect. Their curiosity for alternatives has left many Iranians open to trying new things, a curiosity which has led many to explore Christianity. Iran has the fastest growing church in the Middle East, but heavy persecution of Christians forces the church to exist underground.

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