Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

Iran Targets Online Evangelism To Curb Conversions To Christianity

Iranian Christian converts face mounting challenges and struggles to keep their faith amid escalating hostility. Worth mentioning, that it is illegal for Muslims to convert in Iran. In face of life threatening consequences, these converts are forced to flee from their homeland and seek refuge in foreign countries. Those who are left behind are ferociously targeted by the authorities.

A UK-based advocacy group for persecuted Christian converts in Iran along with it’s partners has highlighted that there have been more than 120 incidents involving the arrest, detention, or imprisonment of Christian converts in Iran. It was said that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) started rounding up Persian-speaking Christians, which was markedly new trend. In 2021, this IRCG was had conducted approximately 12 incidents in which houses of Christians and house churches were raided and arrests were carried out.

Another major concern emerged in the form of “cyberarmy” which was assigned the task of cracking down on ”online evangelism.’’ Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had purportedly advanced this “cyberarmy” on the pretext of protecting the Islamic republic from perceived threats.

Christian converts form a considerable population in the country so that is forms Iran’s largest Christian community. However, only three minority religions that include the Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity are constitutionally recognized. Under this criterion, the Christian converts are not considered original Christians there are liable to hostility from the regime.

In this regard, a representative of a UK- based religious advocacy group called the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is reported saying, “”Indigenous Christians are mostly from Armenian, Assyrian, and Catholic churches, with some belonging to the Assemblies of God denomination. While several converts have joined the Assemblies of God denomination, others belong to various evangelical house-church networks.”

By Farrukh Saif

Farrukh Saif is a Pakistani human rights activist based in Germany. He founded his own organization, the Farrukh Saif Foundation (FSF), in 2009 with the goal of supporting marginalized and oppressed minorities in Pakistan who are affected by religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, forced conversions, abductions, rape, and bonded slavery. The main focus of the FSF is on the liberation of bonded laborers, particularly those working in brick kilns in rural areas of Pakistan. In 2018, the FSF merged with the US-based Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved. Throughout his career, Farrukh has been a leading voice for the rights of minorities in Pakistan and has gained international attention for his campaigns against the misuse of blasphemy laws and the belief that asylum is not a crime. In 2014, he played a key role in the release of hundreds of asylum seekers from Thai jails and has worked with his legal team to save numerous victims of strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Farrukh has also been invited by the Hungarian government to discuss his work and the issues he addresses. In addition to his work with the FSF, Farrukh has also been involved in various other humanitarian efforts, including providing health care services to internally displaced persons in Khayber Pakhtoon Khawa in 2009 and assisting flood victims in Sindh and Punjab in 2010. He has worked to aid victimized minorities in Pakistan and has a strong track record of successfully advocating for their rights. Farrukh joined forces with Keith Davies in 2018 to co-found the Emergency Committee to Save The Persecuted and Enslaved, and since 2009, they have collectively successfully rescued more than 36000 individuals from slavery and persecution.