Four More Imams Are Underground Believers
By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
WOODLAND HILLS, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- One of the top Islamic leaders in Iran accepted Christ and left the country after facing death threats and imprisonment, according to an Iranian pastor living in the U.S.
â€œThis man has been watching Christian TV programs for the past two years,â€ said Pastor Elnathan Baghestani, founder of Iran for Christ Ministries. (www.iranforchrist.com) Pastor Baghestani and his wife provide Christian programming to the Mohabat Network satellite, which broadcasts 24/7 into Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.
The imam called one of the phone counselors connected to Iran for Christ Ministries and prayed to receive Christ in early February. â€œThe man has been watching Christian TV programs for the past two years,â€ Baghestani said. â€œHe said he has believed since he began watching the programs but his salvation was sealed through his confession.â€
â€œThis man knows all the verses of the Qurâ€™an by heart,â€ he added. â€œAfter he began watching, doubt began in his heart about the Islamic faith.â€ The man spent nine months in prison after he questioned the violence of radical Islam. Following his release from prison, he faced numerous death threats and escaped the country.
Several other religious leaders may follow suit. â€œHe knows four other high-ranking imams that are in the same condition and want to leave Iran,â€ Baghestani said.
While it is illegal to own satellite dishes in Iran, many hide them on their roofs or other locations on their property. â€œThey arrest people for having satellite dishes because they know the Christian programming is effective,â€ Baghestani noted.
The imam who fled left everything behind. â€œHis salary was 700,000 of their monetary units every month,â€ Baghestani said. â€œHe was honored and respected, but when the gospel came to him he lost everything,â€ he noted. â€œNow he is a poor refugee in a foreign country.â€
â€œGod is shaking the foundation of Islam in Iran,â€ Baghestani said. â€œWe have been praying for some of the main government officials to come to Christ and God is answering us,â€ he reports. â€œI pray God will open more doors for us to send the gospel to the Middle East.â€