By Worthy News Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- Iranian Christians on Monday, March 1, were searching a Christian couple after they were detained by Iranian security forces for apparently leading an unauthorized house church, Worthy News and its news partner BosNewsLife learned.
The two Christians, only identified as Hamid and Reyhaneh, were also believed to have been arrested Sunday, February 28, because they have a Muslim background, local Christians and rights investigators said.
Under Iran's strict interpretation of Islam anyone converting to another religion could face the death penalty or at least life imprisonment.
The couple was reported detained by some 20 police officers who reportedly raided their home in the city of Isfahan, some 340 kilometers (212 miles) south of the capital Tehran.
During the detention, "Reyhaneh was physically assaulted when she resisted arrest," said advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC).
"Other believers present at the time were threatened but not detained, though one was also assaulted when he protested. The police officers confiscated computers, telephones and literature, including many Bibles," the group added.
Family members were reportedly told to make no further inquiries about the couple's whereabouts. Their two teen-aged sons are being cared for by Reyhaneh's sister, MEC said.
This was no isolated incident. Hamid was previously summoned and questioned on several occasions by Iran's Information Ministry over his involvement in the house church, Christians said.
There was no immediate known comment from Iranian officials about the case.
MEC published an appeal from Iranian Christians requesting prayers that "Hamid and Reyhaneh will be released soon and reunited with their sons" and also for other Iranian Christians "currently detained for their faith."
There has been a crackdown on house churches and Christian concerts in the Islamic nation, according to several church groups.