Iranian Persecution Increases Christianity's Appeal among Muslims

Monday, June 6, 2011

by Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News International Correspondent

Tehran, Iran (Worthy News)-- An increase in the arrest of Iranians converting from Islam reveals an abundant harvest resulting from evangelism by clandestine house churches in the Islamic state, according to Iranian Christian leaders.

"Religion is regarded as part of your national identity," said Elam Ministries' Issa Dibaj. "If you turn away from your religion ... it's as if you have betrayed your country." In short, conversion away from Islam is tantamount to treason against the Islamic state.

"Persecution has escalated to an unprecedented level," said Abe Ghaffari, executive director of Iranian Christians International. The increase in persecution is believed to be directly proportional to the number of Iranian Muslims converting to Christianity with numbers estimated in the thousands; many of those conversions may have begun after the Islamic state lost credibility in the disputed 2009 national elections.

"Before the revolution, the clerics were promising that once Iran becomes an Islamic state, it would be utopia, it would be brotherhood, and everything would be fine," said Dibaj, but Iranians "have seen nothing but war and fighting and international isolation and hatred: (now) they are thirsting for change."

Government persecution is making Christianity even more attractive, said Elam's David Yeghnazar.

"When government officials are on television telling people not to read the Scriptures, that generates more interest in the Scriptures," he said.

For Iranian Muslims, "Banned in Tehran" now has the same curious effect as "Banned in Boston".