The crackdown on Christians in Iran, especially in recent times, is an indication of the weakness of the regime’s leadership. Wherever there is a fear of losing legitimacy, a regime employs violence and repression.
The imposition of pressure on the Iranian Christian community by direct and obvious orders of the Islamic Republic, including closure of the Farsi speaking church of Janat-Abad in Tehran and arbitrary arrests, especially of Christians with non-Christian backgrounds, has once again intensified. Also, Christian groups advocating Human Rights condemned this action by the Islamic regime of Iran and highly criticized it regarding this issue.
In an email to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law & Justice, wrote, “Iran’s latest assault on the religious freedom of Christians is disturbing, yet not surprising. Iran has consistently shown that it has no respect for international human rights and religious freedom. In fact, Iran is one of the world’s worst offenders.
Those who embrace Christianity do so at great risk and are frequently targeted for persecution – including death because of their religious beliefs.”
Dr. Richard Landes, an associate professor of history and director and cofounder of the Center of Millennial Studies at Boston University, told the Post via email, “On one level, the closure reveals the insecurity of the Muslims who carry it out, re-emphasizing (if that were necessary) the profound lack of confidence that Islamists in power have in a free market of ideas. And of course, this affects not only the specific church, but any kind of dissident, infidel or Muslim. This is classic pre-modern political behavior.”
Landes , who has delivered talks about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, added, “In a larger sense, this raises the issue of reciprocity. At a time when Muslim spokesmen and women make strong demands to be treated by the highest standards of ‘human rights’ in the West, neither these Muslim spokespeople, nor those who trust them in the West, demand any kind of reciprocal restraint from Muslims in Islamic countries.
Nasrin Amirsedghi, a leading German-Iranian intellectual who has written extensively about human rights violations in the Islamic Republic, told the Post that “the systematic and state-sponsored persecution of Christians in Iran, particularly in the recent period, is a sign of an increasingly weakened regime leadership. Wherever there is a fear of losing legitimacy, the regime employs violence and repression.”
She noted that Iran’s parliament voted 196 to 7 for the death penalty in 2008 to be imposed on apostates, such as those who convert from Islam to Christianity.
Mr. Sekulow of the Center for Law & Justice was asked what the West can do regarding human rights violations in Iran. Answering this question Sekulow said, “There are several areas of involvement where the West can make a difference. We have a duty to report on and work for the release of those persecuted, imprisoned and even facing death by execution because of their religious beliefs. As a free people, it is our job to take every bit of information we can obtain and utilize it in a way that can best assist those who too often are forgotten.”
He continued, “It is important that these crimes be publicized – that a media spotlight expose these tragic events – to let Iran know that the world is watching.” (Mohabat News)