Bli fast giver! 
 
Forfølgelse

Iran

På årets WWL rangeres Iran på 9. plass med 77 poeng, 5 mer enn i fjor. Poengøkningen forklares ved en ytterligere forverret situasjon for kristne. Den viktigste forfølgelsesdynamikken i Iran er "islamsk ekstremisme". Islam er statsreligion, og alle lover må være i overenstemmelse med den statlige fortolkningen av sharia-lovgivningen. Nesten all kristen aktivitet er forbudt, spesielt hvis den skjer på persisk språk, farsi.

Kristne blir sett på som en trussel mot regimet, ettersom de vokser i antall. Det berettes at til og med barn av politiske og åndelige ledere forlater islam til fordel for kristen tro. Av alle former for Kristus-troende er MBBs (Muslim Background Believers) mest utsatt, sammen med evangelisk-protestantiske kristne. Det er mindre press mot historisk-etniske kristne minoriteter som den armenske og den assyriske, så lenge de ikke evangeliserer for muslimer.

Det er press mot kristne på alle livets områder. Presset øker og kommer hovedsakelig fra familie og myndigheter. Enhver muslim som forlater islam, trues med dødsstraff, og gudstjenester overvåkes av det hemmelige politi. Regimets fokus er på dem som henvender seg til muslimer, og heller ikke veletablerte kristne trossamfunn er trygge for trakassering. Selv om etniske (armenske og assyriske) kristne er anerkjent som en religiøs minoritet i Iran og offisielt nyter godt av religionsfrihet, har de meldt om fengslinger, fysisk mishandling, trakassering og diskriminering på grunn av sin tro.

Selv om Iran synes å ha valgt ny kurs etter at Hassan Rouhani ble valgt til ny president i juni 2013, vil tiden vise om dette får konsekvenser for behandlingen av kristne i landet. I mellomtiden vokser stadig nysgjerrigheten og interessen for kristendommen (og andre ikke-islamske religioner) blant iranske muslimer som er desillusjonerte over Irans statsautoriserte shia-islam.

Etniske persere er per definisjon muslimer, ifølge landet. Evangelisering, bibelundervisning
og utgivelse av Bibelen på farsi er ulovlig. Alt dette har bare ført til mer kirkevekst. I Iran er fengsling av kristne svært vanlig. I tillegg blir kristne fysisk skadet – ofte mens de er i fengsel. Mange kristne har følt seg tvunget til å forlate hjemmene sine eller flykte ut av landet. De møter press på alle områder i livet. Enhver muslim som forlater islam, kan stå i fare for å bli dømt til døden, og gudstjenester blir overvåket av det hemmelige politiet.

Presset på de kristne øker og kommer både fra familien og fra myndighetene. Regimets fokus er å finne dem som når ut til konvertitter, og til og med veletablerte kristne kirkesamfunn er ikke trygge for trakassering. Aktiviteter blir nøye overvåket, medlemmer identifisert og registrert. Iranske myndigheters frykt for det økende antallet kristne, spesielt i husmenigheter, er basert på det faktum at mange desillusjonerte muslimer blir nysgjerrige på kristendommen.


Det er mulig at forfølgelsen vil øke ytterligere ettersom autoriteter ønsker større kontroll
over politiske og sivile aspekter i folks liv for å befeste makten i hjemlandet når
internasjonalt press og sanksjoner øker.

Mer på engelsk følger

Persecution engines
The main persecution engine in Iran is ‘Islamic extremism’. Islam is the official religion and all laws must be
consistent with the official interpretation of Sharia law. The most important drivers of persecution against
Christians are government officials, non-Christian religious leaders, fanatical movement and revolutionaries or
paramilitary groups.
 
Religious persecution of certain minorities has intensified in Iran since 2005. This is particularly aimed at the
Baha’i, at Dervishes - a Sufi religious order (source: Amnesty International, 2012) - and at Christians, especially
MBBs. According to the state, only Armenians and Assyrians can be Christian. Ethnic Persians are by definition
Muslim, and, therefore, ethnic Persian Christians are by definition apostates. This makes almost all Christian
activity illegal, especially when it occurs in Persian languages - from evangelism to Bible training, to publishing
Scripture and Christian books or preaching in Farsi. Yet the regime’s harsh treatment of Christians only further
fuels the flames of church growth.
 
Since religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s warning in 2010 of the ever expanding influence and numbers
of home-based churches, persecution in Iran has increased and treatment of Christians is rapidly worsening.
 
Elements of context
There is still widespread discontent inside the country. The protests from both society and in the political arena
have never been so vibrant since the Islamic Revolution. The demonstration and protests continue to take
place. The opposition is trying to gain more power but has (until now) been suppressed by the people in power.
The harsh crackdown afterwards clearly shows the oppressive character of the political and religious system.
However, the regime is totally inflexible towards social change. As a result, there is less flexibility towards
minorities.
 
Christians are especially a threat for the regime as their numbers are growing and it is said that children of
political and spiritual leaders are leaving Islam for Christianity. In general a large proportion of society is tired of
the system and sees its failings after 30 years of being an Islamic Republic.
 
The regime’s focus is to destroy those who reach out to converts and seekers by infiltration, arrests, ban of
Farsi language services and closure of some churches. Also, pressures and attacks against Christian
communities, especially evangelical Christians and their places of worship, have increased. The prohibition of
activities in house churches is enforced more strictly.
 
Types of Christianity affected
Of all types of Christianity, mostly MBBs are affected, as well as Protestant Evangelicals. There is relatively less
pressure on historical ethnic Christian minorities as the Armenian and Assyrian, as long as they do not
evangelize Muslims. Evangelism, Bible training and publishing Scriptures in Farsi are all illegal, yet this has only
fuelled the flames of church growth.
 
We estimate that there are now about 450,000 Christians in Iran of which the vast majority from a Muslim
background. As many MBBs and ethnic Christians are leaving the country and research in the country is
practically impossible it is hard to come up with precise numbers.
 
Spheres of life
There is pressure on Christians in all spheres of life. Pressure on Christians is increasing and comes particularly
from family and authorities. For a Muslim family in the Middle East, it is a great disgrace when one of the
members leaves Islam. Previously the pressure MBBs in Iran were generally experiencing in their families
seemed to be less severe than elsewhere in the region. The reason for this is the fact that the first generation
of MBBs mostly came from nominal Islamic backgrounds. This situation has changed, as increasingly MBBs
come from more orthodox Islamic families. As a result, opposition from the family is more intense.
 
Many church services are being monitored by the secret police. Believers, especially converts from Islam, who
are active in churches or the house church movement, are being pressured: they are questioned, arrested and
put in jail and beaten. 
Any Muslim who leaves Islam faces the death penalty and church services are monitored by the secret police.
The regime’s focus is on those reaching out to converts and even well-established Christian denominations are
not safe from harassment. Activities are closely watched, members identified and taken note of. The Iranian
authorities’ fear of increasing numbers of Christians, particularly in house churches, is based on fact with many
disillusioned Iranian Muslims becoming curious about Christianity.
 
Islam is the official religion in Iran, and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the official
interpretation of Sharia law. Although ethnic (Armenian and Assyrian) Christians are a recognized religious
minority who officially are guaranteed religious freedom, they have reported imprisonment, physical abuse,
harassment and discrimination because of their faith. Armenian and Assyrian churches are allowed to teach
fellow countrymen in their own language, but it is forbidden to minister to people with a Muslim background
(speaking Farsi).
 
Violence
In Iran, detentions of Christians are very common. In addition, Christians were physically harmed (a number of
them in jail). Several Christians were forced to leave their homes or to flee the country. As we have seen during
the past years, Christmas is a period in which house churches are especially under fire ever, in this time a clear
rise in house church raids combined with arrests takes place. During the current reporting period, we received
more information on house church raids. This is one of the reasons for an increase in score for Iran.
 
Pressures and attacks against Christian communities, especially Protestant Christians (including Evangelicals
and Presbyterians) and their places of worship have continued. The Iranian regime’s tactic seems to prohibit all
Farsi speaking services of evangelical/protestant churches. This implies a further growth of house churches in
the future, as it is nearly impossible to open churches.
 
More significantly, the leaders of Christian denominations that are long established in Iran, i.e. Armenians and
Assyrians, have not remained safe from harassment either. The policy of the government is to stimulate them
to leave the country. The activities of long established Churches are being closely watched and the regime has
identified its members and taken note of them. Some pastors and members of these churches were arrested.
 
Future Outlook
Iran seems to have chosen a new direction after the election of new president Hassan Rowhani in June 2013. In
the Western media often the impression was made that Iranians could choose between conservative and
moderate candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth however: all candidates were selected by
Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei. Rowhani’s moderate tone seems to be successful in international
relations and led to an interim agreement interim agreement over Iran’s nucleair programme with
international powers. For the time being, it will not have considerable consequences for Iran’s declining
economy: most sanctions will remain. Therefor it is expected that Rohwani will continue this charm offensive
until sufficient result is gained: the lifting of sanctions which will enable the Iranian economy to revive.
Rohwani has also promised to set up a ‘civil rights charter’ which calls for `equality among all citizens without
discrimination based on race, religion or sex´. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to concrete results.
Time will tell whether the difference between Rowhani and Achmadinejad is more than surface and style.
 
Meanwhile curiosity and interest in Christianity (and in other non-Islamic religions) is growing continuously
among Iranian Muslims who are disillusioned with Iran’s state-sponsored Shi’ism. Apart from the continued
growth of Christianity, especially in Iranian cities, the increase of agnosticism and nominal Islam are stronger
trends at the moment, according to Persian Cluster Forecast 2013
 

Bønn

 • Om utholdenhet og mot for kristne som
er i fengsel eller under overvåkning.

Hvis du kjenner iranere som er kristne, eller som er åpne for å undersøke hva kristen tro går ut på, er ressursene nedenfor fra "222 Ministries" en gullgruve. På det første nettstedet i lista nedenfor, finner man f.eks. hele Bibelen online på farsi (persisk). Du kommer til Det nye testamente på farsi ved å klikke her.

www.farsicrc.com - Farsi Christian Resource Centre
www.fcnn.tv - Farsi Christian News Network
www.222biblecollege.com - Online Bible College
www.iranchristians.org - Iranian Christians International
www.sama.tv - 222 TV online
www.222publications.com - 222 Publications online 

Pray for Iran - Et nettsted med mye god informasjon om landet. Det ble utarbeidet til en global bønneaksjon for Iran i 2006, men informasjonen er fortsatt like aktuell. Nettstedet inneholder også kristen musikk fra Iran.

Andre interessante artikler om Iran:

- Vekkelse blant iranere i eksil
- Tror Gud vil bruke Iran
- The Church history of Iran

International Religious Freedom Report (2010)
Wikipedia (norsk)
• Iranian Minorities Human Rights Organisation