John R. Houk
© September 20, 2011
Amin’s ire is still up about me complaining about persecution of Christians in Iran. Amin is responding to this post: “Amin Claims there NO Persecution of Christians in Iran”. I refuted Amin in that post. Below is Amin’s current comment followed by my refutation.
Amin Comment [** Look for the asterisks below to see the unedited version of Amin’s comment]
September 20, 2011
I answered you in this way: First I live in Iran. I know everything about Iran. Second I do not write [about] Christians who are committed to evangelizing for they are persecuted, but no one is persecuted for faith in Jesus. I am not religious myself. Catholics are free in Iran, because as you wrote they do not commit evangelism. But what you write about me: Actually Amin distinguishes the Christians not being persecuted are “Catholics” and the Christians that are arrested and persecuted are “Evangelicals. Yes that is true.
About two persons: Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh, both are free now in Iran. Only one execution has happened in 1990 by the Iranian government because of apostasy. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt people burn Churches, killing Christians and rape them. In Iraq last year 1000 Christians were killed. Could you name 10 Christians in Iran only murdered or executed? Please name them.
You are right about this: "Expressly it is illegal for Christians to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in the Iranian language of Farsi. Christians in speech and written material can only share the faith in the ancient languages of the Christian Churches". But this is just men executed for using Farsi in Iran. [SlantRight Editor: Women get life imprisonment]
Armenians can work in banks. They can have jobs. You wrote 350000 people convert Christianity. Are they all in prison?? If you are right all 350000 should be in prison. In Saudi Arabia if a Muslim converts to Christianity he will be beheaded. As I wrote, in Iran only in 1990 one man was executed. Why are you paying no attention to Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia? In Sudan over 1000 Christian are killed by genocide. That is the reason why Sudan broke down in the south and north. Is the same thing happening in Iran as in those other nations? Many say that in Iran exists Anti-Semitism. Over 10000 Jews live in Iran. How could Anti-Semitism be possible if 10000 Jews live in Iran? Iran is Anti-Zionist and not Anti-Semitic. The only [thing] wrong with Iran is that Russia is friend and Israel is an enemy. [A good comparison is] like North Korea is the USA’s enemy and Saudi Arabia is a USA friend. Christians have poor conditions, but no one protests because being friends with USA....
Okay, let’s address Amin’s latest assertions.
Amin says first he lives in Iran and knows everything about Iran.
Amin’s comment expresses pride in his nation and his religion of Islam. I can’t fault him for that; however Amin ignores the repression that Christians experience in Iran treated as a subclass with no freedom to express their faith in the Farsi tongue of Iran. Amin’s claim that he “knows everything about Iran” still suggests he is self-deluded about the lack or civil rights in Iran for any minority in Iran which includes Muslim Kurds and Baha’i-Iranians. In asserting the Iranian government is guiltless for murders that occur outside of State sanctioned executions is one of the lamest thought patterns I have come across. For Amin Islamic Supremacism is a norm, meaning those that wish the freedom of expression and religion apart from Shia Islam must be punished and deserve what they get. Is it just me or does it sound lame that Amin seems to view everything with “Catholic” Christians as idyllic and yet ignores the persecution of other minorities? What is in Amin’s mind when he chooses the recognized Iranian Churches subservience to the State as a good time?
Amin goes on to say: “Second I do not write [about] Christians who are committed to evangelizing for they are persecuted, but no one is persecuted for faith in Jesus.”
In essence Amin is saying it is cool to persecute Evangelical Christians. Then Amin adds a “but”. He claims NO ONE is persecuted for faith in Jesus. Amin Evangelicals have faith in Jesus! I am guessing Amin's thought that no one is persecuted for having faith in Jesus is meant from a Muslim perspective. The Muslim perspective is that Jesus is not the Christ the Son of the Living God that died on the Cross, was buried for three days and rose again on the third day reasserting the Lord’s Divine aspects making Jesus both fully man and fully God in one person.
Guess what? The “Catholic” Christians believes that Jesus is the Son of God as well. Simply put the approved Catholic Churches that continue operation have chosen not to share about Jesus’ Godhood outside of the four Church walls. I am also guessing the subject is avoided within the Church walls as well for fear spies will expose a report to the Mullah – you-better-not-offend-Islam – police.
Coming on the heels of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (Nov. 8), Christian religious-freedom groups celebrated a victory yesterday in Iran. Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27 — two Iranian converts to Christianity — were freed after being imprisoned for 259 days.
Authorities raided the women's apartment, which contained "Christian literature," on March 5. The women were charged with anti-state activity, spreading Christianity, and apostasy (deserting one's faith), and were placed in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.
In Iran, apostasy alone is punishable by execution or life in prison. The country has been placed on several watch lists of places that repress religious freedom. Recently, Iran has come under fire for jailing believers following raids on churches and homes belonging to Christians.
While in custody, reports came that the two women endured "intense interrogations which have reportedly included sleep deprivation and other psychological pressure." In the past, Evin in particular has been accused of denying its inmates basic rights, and both women suffered from poor health that went untreated. Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari just released a memoir about her hellish eight-month stay in Evin following a routine visit in 2006 with her elderly mother.
Additionally, the women were heavily pressured to reclaim Islam. Back in August, a judge urged them to renounce Christianity. When Esmaeilabad and Rustampoor would not do so, they were sent back to jail "to think about it." According to BosNewsLife, at one point in the hearing, one of the women said God had spoken to them through the Holy Spirit
Amin does admit that persecution against Christianity is heavy in other Muslim nations, yet he implies that I don’t write about those situations. Actually I do write about persecution in other Middle Eastern way more than I do about Iranian intolerance. Actually most of the mention of Iranian intolerance is toward Jews and Israel.
If it wasn’t so serious I would have to laugh that the death sentence for apostasy is ONLY aimed at men. I chuckled because women are given a life sentence (officially anyway) for apostasy as if sparing a lady’s life to live the rest of her days in the hell of prison was a good thing in Iran. As you can see, the two Muslim gals written above endured time in prison under the most horrible of tortures. Now doesn’t that sound like enlightened Iranian jurisprudence?
Check this statement out: “Armenians can work in banks. They can have jobs.”
The reality for all Christians in Iran regardless of approved or Evangelical is a bit different:
Christians have none of the risk factors for rebellion. They do have one risk factor for protest: significant political and cultural restrictions. By and large, conditions for the vast majority of Christians in Iran has remained unchanged over the past decade. Despite Khatami’s assurances of greater minority rights in Iran, Armenian and Assyrian Christians face continued, systematic state-directed discrimination, particularly in the realm of politics. Iran's future attitude toward Christian nations of the West will likely signify the extent to which it will internally tolerate its own Christian minority. As long as Islamic fundamentalism retains a significant voice within Iranian politics, Christians will remain at risk.
Christians, in general, are allowed to participate in Iran's economic and social life and have achieved a high standard of living. However, Christians, including those recognized by the state as official religious minorities, have encountered officially sanctioned discrimination in the areas of employment, education, public accommodations, the legal system and property ownership. Many Christian schools were taken over by the government after the 1979 revolution. All Iranian students must be instructed in Islam regardless of their religion. All religion classes must be taught in Persian, and all Armenian literature classes must receive government approval. The Ministry of Education requires that all school principals, including those of Armenian parochial schools, be Muslims. Tests in Islamic theology are required for all university applications, university positions and public sector jobs. The Iranian courts had been giving lower awards and larger penalties to Christians in lawsuits over injuries or death, although some progress was made in 2003: legislation was passed to make blood money payments for Christians equal with Muslims. It is often difficult for a Christian to obtain a passport. The publication of Christian texts, while legal, rarely receives the necessary government approval. Christians in Iran have also encountered various forms of harassment by the Iranian government including torture, long-term imprisonment (with and without trial), unfair trials (often accusing them of spying or other trumped up charges), and execution. However, recently there have been no reports of arrests and executions. (Excerpted from Minority at Risk (MAR) report: Assessment for Christians in Iran)
Amin writes: “You wrote 350000 people convert Christianity. Are they all in prison?? If you are right all 350000 should be in prison.”
Amin’s Islamic Supremacism backed by Sharia Law is spilling all over the place in this thought. Amin assumes that if there is so many Evangelical Christians then they must be in prison. The number of “350,000” is actually representative of the growing underground (Evangelical) Home Church Movement. In Amin’s mind the Evangelicals need to be divided from the Catholic Church much as a weak steer is culled from the herd of cattle. Unfortunately for Amin the Evangelicals probably are not the weak Christians for they have sold out to be committed Christians regardless of the law of the land that says they should not exist.
Amin asks: “Is the same thing happening in Iran as in those other nations?”
At this point the amount of Christians in Iran is less than 1% of the 72,903,921. This has not always been the case since intolerant Islam hit Persia-Iran. Even in 1979 there was a further action of mass fleeing from the Iranian Mullocracy. It is my guess that Christians experience the horror if Islamic intolerance is due to some of the smallest numbers of Christians in a Muslim nation. Thus Egypt with the largest amount of a Christian population has the most visible amount of horrific persecution.
Amin writes: “Many say that in Iran exists Anti-Semitism. Over 10000 Jews live in Iran. How could Anti-Semitism be possible if 10000 Jews live in Iran? Iran is Anti-Zionist and not Anti-Semitic. The only [thing] wrong with Iran is that Russia is friend and Israel is an enemy.”
This is what I found out about Jews in Iran. In 1948 there were 100,000 Jews in Iran. In case you are not familiar with 1948, that is the year that Israel became an independent nation and attacked by 4 – 5 Muslim nations intent to drive Jews into the sea. In 2004 the Jewish population in Iran numbered 20,000 - 25,000. According to some data I found from a pro-Iranian article there were 25,000 Jews in Iran in 2010. I am guessing Amin is uninformed when he writes there are 10,000 Jews in Iran today OR since he knows everything that goes on in Iran there was a mysterious genocide of 10,000 to 15,000 Jews.
Amin’s claim that Iran is Anti-Zionist and not Anti-Jewish is a bit lame. The statement can only be true through the eyes filtered through Islamic Supremacism in which Jews that don’t rock the boat and live as second class citizens in fear of offending Muslims by practicing their faith openly explains the difference between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism.
By the way Zionism is a way of Jewish thinking that crosses the political spectrum between Left and Right. The goal of Zionism is like an inner homing device that calls Jews back to their homeland promised to them by God Almighty.
Zionism is the Jewish national movement of rebirth and renewal in the land of Israel - the historical birthplace of the Jewish people. The yearning to return to Zion, the biblical term for both the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, has been the cornerstone of Jewish religious life since the Jewish exile from the land two thousand years ago, and is embedded in Jewish prayer, ritual, literature and culture.
Modern Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in response to the violent persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe, anti-Semitism in Western Europe. Modern Zionism fused the ancient Jewish biblical and historical ties to the ancestral homeland with the modern concept of nationalism into a vision of establishing a modern Jewish state in the land of Israel. (Click the “What is Zionism?” to read more)
The thing that united religious Jews with liberal and often irreligious Jews is the fact of persecution in the West that should have been a safe haven of religious and political freedom. The Hitler genocide of nearly SIX MILLION Jews by 1945 became the catalyst that the Western World War II victors to look the other as the old League of Nations promise through the then super power of Great Britain could be fulfilled from the 1920s. The Hitler genocidal catalyst is the weapon that Islamic Supremacism hates the most. That is why Anti-Semitists in the West and Muslim apologists love to claim the home of the Jews is not Israel but the various European nations that barely tolerated the Jewish Diaspora last created by the Romans in the time period roughly between 70 AD and 135 AD. As we might say in America that simply is not true. Zionism – or the hunger to return home – is ingrained into the DNA of every Jewish person. Yeah I know that opens the argument of defining Jewry as a religion or a race. Frankly being Jewish is both a religion and a race.
People have converted to Judaism by either a Gentile woman marrying a Jewish male, a Gentile male undergoing painful adult circumcision to marry a Jewish sweetheart or simply a male or female attracted to the God of Abraham, Isaac (NOT Ishmael) and Jacob (renamed Israel by God Almighty). So yes there has been a mixture of Gentile DNA with Jewish DNA over the years depending on the nation Jews were lucky enough to put down roots. Incidentally that Jewish-Gentile DNA mixing occurred to the European, African and Middle Eastern Diaspora Jews. That includes Iranian Jews.
Let me finish my assertion that Christians are persecuted to the point of murder or execution with some of this information.
Recent Persecution of Christians in Iran (video posted May 12, 2011)
· 1994 - Rev. Mehdi Dibaj, Hanged from a tree June 1994, Assembly of God Church of Tehran
· 1996 - Rev. Bagher Yusefi, Murdered Sept. 28 1996, Assembly of God Church of Amirkola, Mazanderan
· 2005 - Pastor Ghorbandordi Tourani - Iranian House Church Leader murdered near his house in Gonbad-e Kavous, November 22
· 2007 - Mohammad Jaberi, May 2007, Executed (hanged) in Evin Prison
· 2007 - Mohammad Ali Jafarzadeh, May 2007, Executed (hanged) in Evin Prison
· 2008 - Abbas Amiri), August 1, House Church Isfahan, died from injuries sustained when secret police raided a house church service hosted at their house and severely beat him.
· 2008 - Sakineh Rahnama), August 3, wife of Abbas Amiri, died from injuries sustained when secret police raided a house church service hosted at their house and severely beat her. (From: Martyred & Imprisoned Christian Leaders in Iran; Farsinet.com)
Yosef Nadarkhani is scheduled for execution after appeals process has gone full circle:
Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that Yosef Nadarkhani a 32 year-Old Iranian evangelical pastor, must reject his Christian faith or be put to death. It’s the latest incident in the Islamist Republic’s continuous and increased assault on its small Christian population.
Nadarkhani was first arrested on the charge of apostasy (leaving Islam for another faith) in October 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging for his refusal to teach Islam to Christian children. While Nadarkhani hadn’t practiced any faith before he became a Christian at age19, he was born to Muslim parents and thus considered to be a Muslim under Islamic law.
As such, Nadarkhani’s conviction was upheld in September 2010 by a lower Iranian court when it found that he had proven his apostasy by “organizing evangelistic meetings, sharing his faith, inviting others to convert, and running a house church.” At that point, Nadarkhani appealed to Iran’s Supreme Court to have his death sentence reversed but that appeal has now been rejected.
To Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Nadarkhani’s attorney, the Iranian court decision came as a surprise as only one month ago he had been under the impression that his client’s appeal had been granted. Instead, Nadarkhani now stands to be the first Iranian Christian executed for apostasy since 1990. (Iran’s Christian Shutdown, by Frank Crimi, FrontPageMag.com, July 19, 2011)
I have to say Amin, Iran is not friendly to anyone who is a non-Muslim.
**Unedited Amin Comment:
Unedited comment removed by author's request.