1/3 Christians Arrested In Iran For Owning Bibles: REPORT

Feb 21, 2024

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A report published Monday by the Christian Post detailed how one-third of Christians arrested in Iran were targeted over possessing multiple Bibles.

Article 18, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Open Doors, and Middle East Concern, advocacy groups, released a joint annual report on Monday that analyzed the ways Iranian authorities are persecuting Christians. These means include arrests, fines, and floggings, the report and The CP noted.

“Despite a comparable number of Christians being arrested in 2023 as in previous years — 166 arrests were documented in 2023, compared to 134 in 2022 — fewer names and faces could be publicized,” the report details. (LEARN MORE: GOP Impeaches Mayorkas Over Border)

These arrests came in “waves,” with one coming in before June, which then increased substantially as the year moved on, until a “further rash of arrests during Christmas.”

This Is No Coincidence

“By the end of 2023, at least 17 of the Christians arrested during the summer had received prison sentences of between three months and five years, or non-custodial punishments such as fines, flogging, and in one case the community service of digging graves, on charges of ‘propaganda against the state,'” the report continued.

News Director for Article 18 Steve Dew-Jones, said he thinks there’s no coincidence these arrests took place in the months leading up to the death anniversary of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested and beaten to death in custody for not wearing her hijab properly. (LEARN MORE: Biden Ignores Christian Massacres For 3rd Year In A Row)

Iran’s Law On Christians

Conversion from Islam to Christianity is illegal in Iran, and anyone found to be a member of a church can be charged with crimes related to national security. Though there are Christian groups in Iran, they are treated as “second-class citizens.” And one-third of those arrested in 2023 were allegedly targeted because they possessed multiple copies of the Bible. Plus, their communications were tapped.

“For other Christians, the monitoring can be more subtle, such as through continuous surveillance of online activities,” the report continued. “Several Christians have testified that during their interrogations, they were surprised to see piles of print-outs of personal emails or other telecommunications, which were later brought before the judge as evidence of their Christian activities.” (LEARN MORE: Gen Z Needs To Be ‘Bold’)

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