Iran Orders 5 Christians To Report To Prison, Group Says

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Correspondent

iran mapTEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)-- Iran on Tuesday, September 6, ordered five Iranian Christians, including a heavily pregnant woman, to report to prison on charges linked to their Christian activities, a mission group working in the region said.

"Five believers and [church] ministers convicted of "crimes against the Islamic Order on March 8, 2011 in [Iran's southwestern city of] Shiraz," have been told "to report to prison immediately to serve a one year prison sentence," explained Jason DeMars who leads Present Truth Ministries.

DeMars identified the Christians as Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi "Petros" Furutan, Mohammed "William" Belyad, Nazly Belyad and Parviz Khalaj.

Nazly, he said, "is about seven months pregnant". DeMars added that "This absolutely breaks our heart." He told Worthy News that he had urged supporters to "Please pray for these brothers, our sister, and the little baby that is growing inside of her."


He said he had asked Christians to "pray for miracles to take place so that she does not have to be in prison."

Iran's leadership had no comment on the case. However Iran's government and officials linked to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have warned of "the danger of spreading Christianity" in this strict Islamic, but youthful, nation.

"Islam approves Christianity in general, but with regard to the religious teachings of Christianity, unfortunately we witness the spread of Christianity among our youth," said Ayatollah Hadi Jahangosha, an influential Islamic scholar close to the government, in recent comments.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also condemned the growing house churches.

There may be as many as at least 100,000 Christians in Iran, many of them former Muslims, according to church groups.