By BosNewsLife News Center
BERLIN/AMSTERDAM (BosNewsLife) -- A German court has ruled that German authorities cannot deport a Christian asylum seeker back to Iran where he may face execution for converting from Islam to Christianity, news reports said Thursday, July 27.
German evangelical news agency IDEA said the Administrative Court in the Bavarian town of Ansbach decided Wednesday, July 26 that 30-year-old Reza Mamipourabri can stay in Germany.
During the trial Mamipourabri’s lawyer, Oswald Seitter expressed concern over "anti-Christian declarations" made by Iran’s current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and what he called the "increasingly unfriendly climate for Christians" since the latest Middle East crisis began with fighting between Israel and militants in Lebanon and Gaza.
IDEA quoted Seitter as saying that the ruling was "a hopeful sign" for other former Muslims wanting to live as Christians in Germany. Friends launched a massive campaign, collecting signatures in support of Ahmadinejad’s bid to stay in Germany.
Following a BosNewsLife report, American Christians collected money to invite Ahmadinejad, who works as an evangelist, to the United States. His supporters said the Iranian might face the death penalty or at least imprisonment and torture in Iran because of his decision in 1995 to become a Christian.
Several other Christian converts have been jailed, tortured and even killed in the Islamic republic, BosNewsLife learned from several sources. Iran ranks third on the Christian rights group Open Doors' World Watch List of countries with the worst persecution of Christians.
Germany is not the only country where Iranian Christian coverts could face expulsion as neighboring the Netherlands has been considering similar steps.
Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, known locally as "Iron Rita," caused outrage by threatening to expel Iranian Christians who converted from Islam saying if they "don’t express their new faith openly, they do not have to fear danger."
In a reaction, 94 percent of Evangelical leaders in the Netherlands demanded her resignation, according to a recent poll conducted by the influential Dutch Evangelical monthly newspaper Uitdaging (Challenge).
Despite reports of threats against converts, 10 former Muslims from Iran, who became Christians in the Netherlands, were baptized Sunday, July 12, in a Dutch congregation. (With additional reporting by BosNewsLife Special Correspondent Eric Leijenaar in the Netherlands).
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