Three Iranian Christians have been sentenced to prison as the country increases its crackdown on Christianity.
Mission Network News reports that two of the three men sentenced to prison are Muslim converts to Christianity.
The three men were sentenced to at least a decade in prison each on charges of blasphemy, “organizing and creating house churches,” and “acting against national security.”
In addition to these three arrests, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Pastor Victor Tamraz, one of the men who was sentenced, was arrested and charged with “participating in foreign seminars” and “acting against Iranian national security.” She was later released, however.
Miles Windsor of Middle East Concern, an organization that helps persecuted Christians, explains why the Iranian government has been increasingly targeting Christians:
“The Iranian authorities I think are paranoid about anything which doesn’t sit with their perception of the world and of government and religion. So, anything which is perceived as outside of that, even though these house churches and these believers pose no threat to the Iranian regime, they see these house churches and these believers as a threat.”
These four arrests occurred just in the last month. In previous months other Christians were also targeted and primarily charged with being threats to national security.
Windsor asked for believers to be praying for these Iranian Christians:
“More broadly, I think we can be praying that the Iranian regime loosens its grip against Christians and other minorities, that God would be changing the hearts and minds of those who currently seek to attack His Church and His people. And we’re called also to pray for our enemies. So be praying that there would be those in authority as well in Iran who would be turning to Jesus.”
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: July 10, 2017
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.