Guest / Limited Access /

In march of last year, paramilitary vigilantes in Tehran forced an Iranian convert to Christianity and his friends into a car. Iranian authorities allow these Islamic fundamentalists, known as Basijis, to enforce religious law. They detained the convert for three weeks and tortured him.

To ensure the safety of his Christian friends, a December 2001 report by Iranian Christians International (ICI) identifies the Iranian only as R. B. When he returned home, he was unable to speak, write, or walk. His wife took him to a doctor to treat his injuries, which included internal bleeding. The couple then went into hiding at a friend's house, planning to leave Iran as soon as R. B. became well enough to travel. They have not been heard from since.

The government elected in May 1997 claims it has improved religious rights, but persecution of Christians has worsened, according to ICI. Religion police from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance increasingly threaten, imprison, and torture Christians because of their faith. Other authorities deny them jobs and education, ICI says.

The Colorado Springs-based organization reports that since the 1997 election of President Hojjatoleslam Seyed Mohammad Khatami, religion police have shifted tactics. They no longer arrest only key church leaders. Instead, Khatami's so-called moderate government harasses ordinary Christians and entire house churches, arresting groups of 20 to 40 people at a time.

The number of Christians fleeing Iran under its Shi'a Islam regime has grown since 1997. One Iranian pastor who visited Turkey in 2000 reported that 21 families from a single congregation in Tehran had left the country, according to ICI.

Given Iran's climate of fear, it is hard to obtain solid facts, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Just War: Christian Ethicists: Afghan War Is Just
Society of Christian Ethics gives cautious support to military effort.
RecommendedThe First Country to Officially Defend Christians Persecuted by ISIS
The First Country to Officially Defend Christians Persecuted by ISIS
Hungary has drawn criticism for favoring Christian over Muslim refugees from Syria and Iraq.
TrendingOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Editor's PickTen Christian Athletes Who Were Tebowing Before Tebow
Ten Christian Athletes Who Were Tebowing Before Tebow
Christian sports stars have a long history of using their public platform to display their private faith.
Christianity Today
Hiding from Religion Police
hide thisMarch 11 March 11

In the Magazine

March 11, 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.