by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Religious freedom group Open Doors USA has been told that Christians in Iran are risking their lives to help fellow citizens with food and hygiene parcels during the coronavirus outbreak, Fox News reported Thursday. Known internationally for its radical Islamic terrorism, Iran is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East.
As of Friday, Iran has suffered some 9,392 coronavirus deaths and over 200,000 cases in a population of 81.8 million. In the face of this crisis, Iranian Christians have decided they “cannot stand by while people are suffering,” a resident told Open Doors. “It’s antithetical to our faith,” the source said.
Open Doors CEO David Curry told Fox News that the Iranian church has been driven underground by the country’s Islamic extremist regime, which majors in human rights violations. The church, therefore, operates largely through hidden networks.
“The remarkable thing about the Iranian church is their ability to mobilize online networks into offline outreach in this highly restrictive, risk-laden environment,” Curry said.
Iranian Christians are not primarily concerned with defying lockdown measures, Curry added. “Rather, their outreach is an act of civil disobedience toward a government that rejects all forms of religious practice as ‘threats to national security.’ When an oppressive regime pushes the church back, love for people drives it forward. As the suffering of Iranian citizens deepens, the underground church is effectively coming above ground in response.”
Iran ranks ninth on the Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List of countries which oppress Christians. Nevertheless, Iran reportedly has one of the fastest-growing Christian movements in the world.