May 13, 2012
Leaders of the Assemblies of God's (AOG) Central Church of Tehran told their congregation May 6 that authorities have demanded a list of names and identification numbers of church members, a major risk to converts from Islam, Compass Direct News reports. Church leaders then asked members in attendance to volunteer their information. The AOG church holds two Sunday services, both conducted in Farsi, and it is the only church remaining in Tehran that offers Farsi-language worship on Sundays. "This [government move] is basically to make sure the church is not taking in new members and to make it difficult and risky for non-Christians to attend," said Monsour Borji, an Iranian Christian and advocacy officer for rights initiative Article 18. "It is an effort to limit the church, basically." The result of the most recent demand, according to Borji, is that as members of the church consider whether they are willing to turn over their names and identification numbers, "it has created an ethical dilemma for some church members who are not sure what to do, because giving their information feels suicidal."