05/22/2020 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Last week, the tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Iran’s Hamadan was set on fire on the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. The Director-General of Hamadan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department announced that the fire only affected the annex building rather than the main site.
Two other religious sites, a Hindu temple and a Christian cemetery, were also set ablaze in the following days. However, the news is overshadowed by the fire at the tomb of Esther and Mordecai. Local police are investigating the event, and surveillance footage shows an individual at the scene.
This past February, concerns were raised regarding alleged plans which would transform the tomb into a consular office for Palestine. While this tomb is largely surrounded by Iranian controversy regarding Israel, it has strong implications for religious freedom. The tomb is also shared as a holy site amongst the Christian faith, and the Iranian government frequently accuses Christians of promoting Zionism.
Iranian Christians are often used as pawns within a larger political game by the government. The government blames foreign influence and meddling for why so many Iranians have converted to Christianity. However, this shows the massive disconnect the government has with its own citizens. Iranians are tired of the authorities’ attempt at governing their consciences, and this has opened the door for the Gospel’s spread.
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