Dec. 24, 2018
A Dangerous Christmas for Iran’s Christians – Lela Gilbert
“Over 100 Christians have been arrested in Iran in the past week and nearly 150 in the past month, as part of the [Iranian] government’s attempt to ‘warn’ Christians against proselytizing over Christmas,” the Christian website World Watch Monitor reported earlier this month.
The U.S. International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Report for 2018 noted that the Iranian government targeted “Baha’is and Christian converts in particular….Christian converts and house church leaders faced increasing harsh sentencing: many were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for their religious activities.” Conversion from Islam to another faith is a capital offense according to Islamic law.
Sunni and Sufi Muslims and Zoroastrians also face intense discrimination and imprisonment. And with a government that repeatedly calls for “Death to Israel,” Iran’s 15,000 Jews live under close scrutiny.
On Dec. 17, the UN approved a Canada-sponsored resolution which forbade Iran’s abuses of minorities – including religious groups – and its widespread practice of arbitrary detention, demanding that it “release those who have been arbitrarily detained.” Iran called the resolution “a political charade.” The writer, an expert on religious persecution, is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. (Jerusalem Post)