More than 50 Christian converts have been arrested in five Iranian cities in July. And there are warnings that number could increase as fresh reports emerge.
The arrests occurred at the homes and house-churches of at least 51 Christians in Tehran and four other cities, Karaj, Rasht, Orumiyeh, and Aligoudarz. Many remain in custody, while some have been released on bail.
Article 18, a religious freedom organisation says: ‘Police are entering family homes and seizing parents in front of their children.’ Such arrests are bound to be traumatic for the entire family.
They warn the number detained could be as high as 70.
It’s believed those arrested turned to Christianity from Shia Islam, which is the majority faith in Iran.
Enemies of the Revolution
Muslims who convert to Christianity are often portrayed as enemies of the Islamic Revolution and the state. And they’re given a hard time by their families, too.
Yet despite the continuing clampdown on the Church, many Iranians are turning to Christ. The Church in Iran is said to be the fastest growing in the world, and there have been signs of revival among Iranian communities scattered around the world.
These latest arrests take place as Iran’s notorious morality police go back on the streets. It all points to a renewed and aggressive crackdown on groups considered to be a threat by the Iranian regime.
Article 18 say the surge in nationwide arrests marks a clear shift in Iran’s policing of the freedom of its citizens. Christian communities, which have long been vulnerable in the country, appear to be the main targets.
It’s feared aggressive social policing could reignite tensions sparked by the refusal of Iranian women to cover their heads with the Islamic veil.
Please pray for the Christians in these latest arrests, and for the Church in Iran.
Sources: Article 18, Premier Christian News