Iran’s Christian Shutdown

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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As one expert on Iran has said, “The reality is most of the house churches are so hidden that the government can’t do anything, and they know it.” For a regime whose survival necessitates total control over its citizenry, that poses a particularly difficult problem for Iran’s Islamic authorities. Moreover, that threat has only grown stronger since the internal unrest that began in 2009 after the disputed election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So, it comes as little surprise then that the Iranian government has initiated a clampdown on the house church movement, one that began in earnest in the fall of 2010 when Iran’s Islamic leaders began publicly attacking the house churches. That verbal assault culminated in a speech in October 2010 by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which he denounced the growth of private house churches that “threaten Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims.”

For many, Khamenei’s comments served as the official go ahead to terminally squelch the house churches and its Christian participants. From December 2010 through January 2011, it has been estimated that Iranian authorities arrested over 120 Iranian Christians, most of whom were converts from Islam. Since January 2011 an additional 285 Christians in 35 Iranian cities have reportedly been arrested.

One of these detainees is Farshid Fathi who — according to the Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat — was jailed without charge in December 2010, kept in solitary confinement, and subjected to psychological torture in an effort to “extract information on Christian networks in Iran.”

However, the whereabouts of people like Fathi are at least known. Others aren’t so lucky. According to Iranian Pastor Hormoz Shariat of the International Antioch Ministries, “Most often the Revolutionary Guards arrest and don’t even tell their family. They can’t have a lawyer, not even a formal charge. Sometimes they get killed without even a formal charge.”

So, tragically, the Islamist state’s diligent efforts to extinguish its Christian presence continue on unabated. As Iranian Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi declared only last week, “We must end the Christian movement.”

Still, that task may prove harder in the end to complete as Iranian church leaders have estimated that there may be at least as many as 100,000 Christians in Iran, up from the few thousand known believers from 1979 when the Islamists took power.

For Yosef Nadarkhani, that fact may provide some comfort, but it will unlikely spare him a date with the hangman’s noose.

Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, www.politicallyunbalanced.com.

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  • Chezwick_mac

    This is precisely the kind of event that should evoke a response for Pope Benedict. Where is he? For that matter, where are the voices of conscience from all over the world?

    • SAM000

      Where is USA? this is the USA politics which supports actively and militarily ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF THE IRANIAN MULLAHS.

      VATICAN has no power, USA PERMITS and tolerates the extermination of the minorities by IRAN.

      Look at the Iraqi Christians, among 1,5 millions, half are KILLED, DISPLACED, their houses and business destroyed,
      When we question your GENERALS they say that US MILITARY is instructed to not to intervene in the internal business of the Iraqi Government!!!

      Geneva Convention oblige the USA to protect the Minorities in the occupied countries by the USA, but your country leaves the non armed population to the Merci of the Genocides,
      The Iranian Christians and Iraqi Christians are the VICTIMS and the price of the USA appeasement of the Islamism.

      WHAT A DISGUSTING administrations you have.

      • Chezwick_mac

        You're frothing at the mouth. As much as any leftist or Muslim, you apparently feel the USA is omnipotent and therefore responsible for all the world's ills.

        Certainly the USA bears a great deal of responsibility for the depredations suffered by IRAQI Christians, given our country's intervention there. But Iran is a completely different matter.

        Could the USA be doing more to defend religious minorities in Iran? Absolutely! I'm not about to offer ANY defense of Obama's Iran policy. But there ARE limitations on any Administration. Bush may have been less conciliatory towards Iran, be he offered little more than lip service to the Iranian people's aspirations for freedom.

        Short of another invasion and another costly war we cannot afford, there's not a whole helluva lot we can do. Europeans and the Orient need Iranian oil, so our existing sanctions have little chance of being adopted by the wider international community.

        Expecting America to wave a magic wand and cure all the world's ills is hardly being realistic.

        • SAM000

          USA is the SUPER POWER, when the SUPER POWER KNEELS DOWN for the thugs as Ahmadinejad, the result is the abuse of the human rights by the rebel powers.

          We never expect the USA HELP or USA MILITARY INVASION, JUST RESPECT YOUR OWN VALUES, Do not sell the people to the criminals like Ahmadinejad.

          OBAMA and his administration are dealing with Ahmadinejad, the price is the Iranian Resistance Organization, the price is the Christians of Iraq and IRAN, this is shameful, you say that you are against the Islamists, but you instal an Islamist government in IRAQ who gets his orders from TEHRAN, who kills your own soldiers, if you say STOP, they will not dare to disobey, but you never say them stop, don't kill our soldiers, never, this is shameful,
          is your US ADMINISTRATION PAID BY THE ISLAMITS?

      • PhillipGaley

        Yes, as signatory to the Geneva Convention the USA has accepted the obligation to protect the minorities in the occupied countries by the USA; indeed, where is USA?

        LIke Anthony Weiner, probably, all too many of our leaders are merely playing with themselves, and wasting money in the off moments.

        Yes, any aid money should be tied to consideration of rights abuse, . . .

        Also, as Reagan did in quieting Gaddafi for 14yr., missiles should be detonated on the spires of various mosques and specific private residences, . . .

    • taxpayer

      I know. Have the ACLU bring a lawsuit.

  • Cuban Refugee

    Welcome to the new age of Martyrs for Christ coming to a town near you in about 20 years, about ten years after the round-up of Jews. May God bless Yosef Nadarkhani and give him strength.

    • Aneas

      I believe you're spot on. Churchill warned of the Mohammadan 85 years ago;Most of the free world has forgotten: Islamic Pirates required Mediterrean shipping to pay the jizra; Islam sided w Nazi Germany; Islamic Caliphate had Armenians slaughtered; Coptic & Jewish pogroms; Buddhist followers slaughtered, monuments destroyed; etc. etc.etc.etc Soon to be in a neighborhood near you.

    • Libertyman

      20 years? What about the Phillidelphia Eleven 4 years ago?

  • g_jochnowitz

    Faith, by its nature, leads to intolerance and cruelty. The two doctrines that today are accepted with blind faith are Marxism and Islam. They are, at this point in history, the cruelest and most intolerant of dogmas.

    • mrstarry76

      Not my faith. Faith in Christ leads only to peace and the best for all. I guess if you are meaning the opposition of faith, yes, that will lead to violence. Good vs. evil.

      • g_jochnowitz

        "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the
        life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me"
        (John 14:6)..
        The Inquisition followed as the night the day. No religion was ever as murderous as Christianity was between the years 600 and 1700.

        • Amazed

          See Islam 101 at Jihadwatch.org

        • Russell

          wow your knowledge of history is completely lacking.

          Typing how wrong your statement is would take several books worth of information. It is obvious you are going by "revisionist or common knowledge" history, which sadley is usually wrong. But lets say for a moment you are right. (which you're not)

          It does not matter what happend between 600 and 1700, what matters is what's happening RIGHT NOW. And islam is the ONLY religion on the planet that is at war with every other religion that it can reach.

          You are safer as a Muslim walking through downtown New York, than you are as a Cristian or a Jew walking through downtown Mecca, (only you wouldn't be since non muslims are not permitted in Mecca, and Jews are not permitted in Saudi Arabia)

          cont…

          • Russell

            cont from above.

            More people have been murdered by the Religion of peace every day for the last 10 years than in the entire 300 years of the spanish inquisition (SOURCE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition)

            But again, this dosn't matter. What matters is what is happening right now, and I defy you to find one christian majority country that is oppressing and murdering thier religious minorities in large numbers.

            Christianity was castrated by secularism a long time ago. Right now you have more chance of being hit by a bus than being blown up by a christian fundamentalist.

            So forget what may or may not have happend during the inquisition and look what is happening right now. Christianity has evolved, islam has not.

            Christian countries generaly export aid and food to needy countries.
            Islamic countries export bombs, death, murder and Rape.

          • http://jc.does-it.net Gene W.

            Cur, (not Sir) you are a decieved fool!
            God created this universe ['The Bethlehem Star' DVD] and proves that Jesus Christ was from the beginning of time!
            A one page proof that God authored the Bible is found at http://jc.does-it.net and any thought, feelings or belief contrary to the Bible is WRONG.
            Since the Koran hates everything that God loves and established, I know its author is the fallen angel … scribed by decieved and wicked men.
            enough said … prove me wrong!

        • Uwe

          I beg to differ! Not Biblical Christianity but rather Roman Catholicism has perpetrated some of the most horrific religious persecution known to man, the slaughter of Jews and born-again Christians, the horrendous tortures of women by Dominicus and his gang, the support of Nazism and Fascism, pedophilia etc. .
          Please know your history and do not say that these vile acts were and are committed in the name of Jesus the Messiah.

        • Libertyman

          Actually you are talking about Allegorical liberalism that infultrated Christianity.

          But Secular Religionists (Athieist) murdered more people in 50 years the Islam, Judiasm and Christianity in comined three thousand years of history.

          • Libertyman

            above should read:

            "But Secular Religionists (Athieist) murdered more people in 50 years then Islam, Judiasm and Christianity in combined three thousand years of history."

            I apologize – Libertyman

          • g_jochnowitz

            Marxism is an atheistic faith, but it is a faith nevertheless. Marx taught that when economic differences vanished, everyone would think alike, and so the state would wither away. Until then, however, thought control was necessary to reach the final stage of Communism.

    • Freedom John

      Faith doesn't lead to intolerance and cruelty. Faith leads to G-d and knowing that He can do wonderful things in our lives because of His love for his creation, but we have to believe that He can and is willing to. The Muslims know nothing of faith from what I've seen and read. They know blind adherence and fear of retribution if they do not follow what their leaders say. Same with Marxists. But I do agree with you that these are two of the cruelest and most intolerant of dogmas.

  • Tom

    Note the stunning silence from our "esteemed" diktator in chief, president Osama. This iranian assault against Christians is very similar to Osama's and the Democrat party's assault on the American political system.

    • Chaz

      President Obama did respond. His response was quoted in the article. Learn to read entire articles thoroughly and with accurate comprehension before you make pronouncements about the article with your astoundingly offensive prejudices in control of your alleged mind.

  • Freedom John

    I really wish that the "over the top tolerant" group in this country and in Europe would see just how "tolerant" Islam is towards anyone that disagrees with it or leaves it. Then when people talk about not wanting mosques to be built in their communities and then get told how it's against the Constitution by those that hate the teachings of G-d in the first place and refuse to believe that Islam is anything but a religion of peace, that they will know exactly what we as a nation are up against. Islam allows no room for any other teaching. Here is a perfect example, one of many around the globe to be exact.

  • karen

    The apostles died for their faith. I have prayed for this man but he may be called to die. Its about good versus evil and good will win.

    • SAM000

      Pacifism against the CRIMINALS is EVIL,

    • Saintpine

      "The apostles died for their faith"

      No apostle died for their faith, check the bible.

  • AntiSharia

    If anyone ever needs to see what Sharia actually is they only need to look at this. Islam has no toleration for anyone but themselves. For non Muslims it is either no your place or die. And it's usually the latter.

  • PhillipGaley

    As with those described in the 14th chapter of Matthew's Gospel: "And besought him that, they might only touch the hem of his garment; and, as many as touched were made perfectly whole.", and elsewhere, faith has rather, to do with persistence in acquisition of the benefits of nearness to the holiness of divinity, and relatedly, as with the faith of Abraham in the stories of his adventures in noble pursuance of "the bad guys", or others of his worthy endeavors—much different, the ignorant acceptance of the criminal ideology which is part and parcel of Islamic doctrine, and, much different from the parroting of Marxism as synonymous with that appearance of foolishness which denies the reason in the common knowledge and logic of the human condition which so clearly and so easily shows why Spartacus' slave rebellion was inextricably bound to failure—and, all such throughout time—teaching that, the "workers of the world" will some day unite, forsooth! and in the even greater extravagance of unbelievable prognostication that, they will do so in advancement of some good purpose; but yet, so many of our supposed scholars would see the remainder of us also, hang on his every word—and from such fools and their dissemination and final destruction, Dear G0D in heaven let us enjoy a far distant safety!

    As appears, I would say that, our dear "g_jochnowitz" needs some serious book larnin', and something far beyond that which he has thus far experienced, . . . and, to begin, with definitions, . . .

    And for his so-called Islamic faith, over 1/2 of them—the women—are forced in seclusion, kept in the unlearned and untutored condition as the chattel property of bad men, held under choking doctrines which are without development, and fatalistic; and this, our dear "g_jochnowitz" would see styled as integral to a religion, . . . is there no respite!

    The peoples of the Moslem nations are so deeply inbred from frozen centuries of 1st cousin marriage, producing triple the rate of b. defects and low IQ with emotional instability, like a cult, and necessarily parasitic to the larger society—much more need not be said—just when will there have been sufficient record of anti-social and criminal activity—the world round—to have the G0D d_ed thing recognized in law as criminal / terrorist—assets seized, WIRETAPS, etc., the damnable thing stamped out, with every mosque an ash pit no less than five feet deep, and this to include that big one in Spain, . . . you know, do our part to make the world safe for women and children, . . . but when?

  • http://jc.does-it.net Gene W.

    These Pastors that face this choice will do it bodly just as Stephen did in the Book of Acts. Their reward is eternal life with Jesus Christ, God and their saints and not in eternal torment and seperated from heaven.

    Regardles of what you and I think, feel or believe; God Authored the Bible [ http://jc.does-it.net for one page proof ]. As such, His word is the finale authority on any subject the Bible addresses. The site's contact provides logic for the author of other type 'holy books'

  • Homer

    This is exactly what will happen if the Sharia law get s in this country! This shouls serve as a "WARNING" DO NOT coddle these Muslims and/or put up w/their acts!! They are not here for a better life they are here to infiltrate and destroy!! (ANY nation they come to)

  • boundedreality

    I'm sorry,

    Could one of those nice people who's always telling us that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance please stand up?

    • Guest

      I would not even apologize about saying what you have said…you are right on target; it is a religion of hate and intollerance; built into the Qu'ran.

  • Ann

    Our Lying Traitor Dictator and Thief is a muslim — he and clinton are pigs and along with most of our government — they will never come to Christians rescue,ever!!! we as Christian have taken a oath to NEVER FORGET ! WE MUST START TO ACT TO SAVE THEM AND OUR OWN COUNTRY NOW!!!

    • Chaz

      Our state department has issued a very strong response to this situation in Iraq. They could not have done that without President Obama's approval and direction. President Obama is a Christian by his own public assertion, as am I. You, however, sound more like an an illiterate hatemonger.
      If you dare claim to be a Christian, your words and attitude are an embarrassment to the Christian Church, and you grieve the Holy Spirit with your hateful talk. Jesus Christ called people like you poisonous snakes. Our President was duly elected in this free democratic nation to be the leader of all her people. He deserves your respect as your God-appointed leader even if and especially if you disagree with him. Otherwise , in bitter irony, you and people like you will turn our democratic free country into a American version of Iran: intolerant, violent, and unconstitutional.

  • boundedreality
  • hugo cesar rodriguez

    we are praying for his freedon .we trust in the of jesus .and our brother yousef will be released very soon !!!

  • I_Hate_Scams

    nothing like a little love and tolerance. this is what makes an ishamic society so much fun. gee how do i get in all the fun being offered over there….

  • I_Hate_Scams

    this man is going to pay a very severe price for his love for Jesus. It really boils down to a matter of how much he loves Christ in regards to his own life. that is courage at its ultimate expression…

  • Robert

    Islam is the greatest philosophical curse every in the history of mankind. I challange Muslims by saying they were NOT born muslims but human babies who were dragged to the mosque, heard Allah Ho Ackbar every day, and then over many years were brain washed into thinking they were Muslims. Ten years opf researching the behaviour of Muslims in Britain, I, not suprisingly, discovered that the most of the time these nice religious people were constanty figuring out ways to rob the State via benefits.

  • Robert

    PART 2

    A secretary of a mosque in the Uk had a 300 acre farm in Pakistans. It was worked by a friend of his, and they split the yearly profits. His amount was put into the the Bank of Pakistan. The British Government has no idea is doing this. He told me one day to draw out all my money, put it into the Bank of Pakistsan and when the tax returns come, I could state I have nothing to declare. He was considered by the Pakistan community here as a holy man. This is only one of many facts I could relate, but this one alone tells its story.

  • Robert

    PART 3
    I have prophesied that in 100 years Britain will be an Islamic state. One of Bill Clinton’s aids published a book saying that in 100 years the whole of Europe with be an Islamic state.
    Muslims can go on believing what they want and deluding themselves, but there is only one God and only one Saviour, Jesus Christ, who will one day judge all those who adored Muhammad and rejected God's Son, thereby ending up in a lost eternity.
    (Sorry about unchecked spelling mistakes!)

  • POVERELLO

    Blessed Charles of Jesus who was a forerunner of the missionary's to the moslem world a few years before his martyrdom warned the Christian people of the present situation.The only way to convert the moslem is by we who profess to be Chistians live the Gospel to the letter.The present state of worldwide Christianity except for the former mission regions is deplorable.A watered down arm chair religion that permits every disordered concept of man cannot attract even a lasped christian back to the way.The moslem concept of God is very limited;if we who know the Greatness of Love and Mercy do not manifest it then we cannot draw the moslem to the truth.This pastor and the millions of Christians of all Churhes who are persecuted and who are ready to die for Christ it is there blood that will wash away the indifference of the lukewarm.About a coming invasion of the Moslem religion dream on it will never happen,as the darkness cannot cover the light.Please stop blaming the present administation in Washington or former elected they are politicians and sinners like us all.Offer prayers turn off the game on Sundays share your time and blessing with those less fortunate.And above all as we sit in our carpeted air conditioned churches have a thouhgt to pray for fellow Christians in a snake pit of jail somwhere in the world giving witness in our place !

  • Eric Calderone

    Iran's harassment of Christians is to be deplored, and needs to be vocally denounced. But in all fairness, the State of Israel, which officially describes itself as a Jewish State, has been harassing christians for decades, through discrimination in housing and other state benefits, and in interfering with the activities of clergy. The U.S. government has done absolutely nothing about Israel's behavior.

  • Faith

    I hear alot about this and that- tit for tat….
    What matters is that God is in control, no matter what man does.
    We sit around and mumble about what is happening, yet…. thousands
    are coming to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Jesus is on the throne and
    is coming back real soon to rule.
    Do you think that these Muslims can stop Him? No, in fact if this man is
    martryed the Muslims have just started a chain reaction and more Muslims
    will come to know Jesus Christ.

  • Faith

    We as Christians have lost our joy and praise forJesus Christ. Instead of worrying about
    the evil of man we must rejoice in Him and thank Him for His Salvation. We also must rejoice that He will redeem this world to Himself.

  • Jay Yeshu

    Mr. Crimi could have provided significantly more insight into the condition and environment of Iran before and since the revolution which has enslaved Iran's people. The area of Northwest Iran from Tehran to the Turkish border is a region (along with its contiguous area in Iraq and Turkey, native to the Assyrian people, who have been Christian since their evangelical conversion by St. Thomas the Apostle. In 1979 there were over 400,00 estimated Assyrians in Iran. Today there are fewer than 30,000. Mr. Crimi's story emphasizes the treatment of religions in Iran but without informing his readers of the entire story. Look to the native Christians in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt and Iran to see where the future lies.

  • Milo786

    I am a Muslim and I respect Christianity and Judaism. This IS Islam. I condemn Iran's actions without condition. Please the following pertiaining teh rights of Christian or Jew who resides in Islamis state. (Also there is NO COMPUSLION in Faith) It is Un-Islamic to force a person to believe, it is so written in All of God's revelations.
    " Third: The Condition of non-Muslims in the Muslim State

    Non-Muslims used to lead a normal life in the Muslim state, without being harassed concerning their beliefs or scriptures. Indeed, at the arrival of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, at Medinah, he included the following article in the document which represented a constitution for life in Medinah :

    "… any Jew who lives under us is entitled to protection and equality… The Jews' religion is their own, and the Muslims' religion is their own… Our neighbours are equals, not to be molested or to be held sinful" [3]

    The Jews were left to adhere to their religion, and their property was untouched. The same treatment was given to the Christians of Najran

  • GETAQ

    what a pity, Islam intolerante? yes we are in terms of faith. surely most of us here didn't know that be4 a sentence are to to be carried out, the apostle will need to go a series of counseling, usually 3 day but it can be prolong a whole life. this method is to understand why he leaves Islam becoz the only thing that the sentence be carried out maybe bcoz he leaves Islam and tried to convert others as well, he refuses the counseling, he is mocking Islam there fore is a risk to other who are not well knowledge about Islam…but in Iran the case are very swift judge and Islam as a whole is (not just Iran) still tried to do the counselling to the apostle. most of them converted to other religion mostly bcoz the lack of knowledge of Islam itself. so please, labeling Islam terrorist, intolerance are just propaganda, go ask the well knowledge ulama ask them what is Islam for we muslim just doing da'wa(sending the message).

  • parkland dbss

    I am no longer positive where you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or figuring out more. Thank you for excellent info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  • Homer

    What is your point Mohammed!! You are NOT preaching Allah to me are you? I'll tell you what, do these 2 things for me and I will listen to what you have to say..OK. 1 Tell me Allah's name. (do not say benificent, all knowing etc those are not names they are adjectives, they discrib, Allah means "the god" 2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV 2. Sing me a song about Allah, or even about Muhammed. Oh yes I had better ask you why the hadith says Adam was 60 cubits (90Feet) tall… I have more and I KNOW lam and I KNOW that Allah is NOT GOD, and He has NO son, so he can't be GOD…MY GOD, JESUS CHRIST, KNOWS what it is like to be human, he sufferd and he was sleepy and he wept and he got hungry and HE DIED for all of us, even you!! So answer these questions and i will talk w/you. rememeber, you had better be ready to debate if you so desire, I am ready!!

  • fmobler

    Wow. Thanks Muslims. I encourage everyone to take a at least a quick look at this page, just to see how utterly untethered from historic fact and simple logic is Islamic apologetics.