The United States Council for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has revealed in its latest report that there is continuing and growing violations against religious freedom in Iran, in the form of harassment, arrests, and imprisonment. This is especially the case for Christians, Baha’is, and the minority Sunni Muslims.
According to the USCIRF report, “The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.”
Ever since the current President, Hassan Rouhani, rose into power, the number of individuals jailed for religious reasons have increased. However, the Iranian administration continues to blatantly deny accusations of violations of the human and religious freedom rights of their people.
The report showed that, from 2015 to 2016, around 550 Christians have been imprisoned, and, as of February of this year, there are still at least 90 Christians in jail or being detained because of their faith.
Iran is an Islamic Republic that follows a Shi’a Muslim theocracy. The government has instilled Islam-based laws that prevent people of different religions from exercising their right to religious freedom.
However, reports from earlier this year indicated that, despite these strict laws and continuous persecution, the Iranian Christian population has remained steadfast and resilient.
According to Christian Today, there has been a large increase in the number of people who have chosen to become followers of Christ, with the number of new converts reaching close to one million.
This is happening with the help of many underground house churches, which are considered illegal in Iran.
According to Emily Fuentes, the spokeswoman of Open Doors International, “The house churches are causing such rapid growth in conversions it is unmatched by any other country in the Middle East.”
- Give thank for the rapid growth of the Church in Iran, despite the ever present threat of persecution and imprisonment.
- Pray for the underground Church in Iran, for protection over believers, for encouragement as they meet together, for good resources for discipleship and training, and for believers to grow and stand firm in their faith.
- Pray for the Iranian government, for an easing of religious laws that oppress religious minorities, and to allow believers freedom of worship.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to move in this nation, for many to encounter the living Christ Jesus and for this move to overflow into surrounding nations in the Middle East.
Source: http://fcnn.com/en/?p=227, http://www.persecution.org/2016