By Eric Leijenaar BosNewsLife Special Correspondent reporting from the Netherlands with Stefan J. Bos at BosNewsLife News Center
BERLIN/AMSTERDAM (BosNewsLife) — Germany plans to deport an Iranian asylum seeker back to Iran, although he may face execution there because he converted from Islam to Christianity, BosNewsLife monitored Tuesday, July 11.
German Christian news agency Idea said authorities want to expel former Muslim Reza Mamipourabri, who currently works as a Christian evangelist in Germany, perhaps as early as this month.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees rejected Mamipourabri’s request to stay in Germany and an administrative court reportedly upheld that decision saying he “would not face any danger in Iran if he does not openly express his Christian faith,” and tries to remain unnoticed.
Supporters said it will be difficult for Mamipourabri, 30, to remain “unnoticed” as authorities know him. He was already “detained and tortured” for several months in Iran, following his decision in 1995 to become a Christian, Idea reported.
The Administrative Court in the Bavarian town of Ansbach also said it agreed with the deportation, because the identity of the Iranian man could not be established as several names were used, Idea reported. Another, possible final, hearing is scheduled for July 26.
Analysts and friends say if Mamipourabri is forced to return to Iran, he will almost certainly be executed. Under Iran’s strict Islamic laws, anyone abandoning Islam can face the death penalty.
Human rights watchers fear increased persecution of Christians under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has reportedly called for a crackdown on “the burgeoning movement of house churches across Iran.”
Several Christian converts have been jailed, tortured and even killed in the Islamic republic, BosNewsLife learned from several sources. Iran ranks third on the Christian rights group Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries with the worst persecution of Christians.
Germany is not the only country where Iranian Christian coverts could face expulsion as neighboring the Netherlands has been considering similar steps. Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, known locally as “Iron Rita,” caused outrage by threatening to expel Iranian Christians who converted from Islam saying if they “don’t express their new faith openly, they do not have to fear danger.”
In a reaction, 94 percent of Evangelical leaders in the Netherlands demanded her resignation, according to a recent poll conducted by the influential Dutch Evangelical monthly newspaper Uitdaging (Challenge). Despite reports of threats against converts, 10 former Muslims from Iran, who became Christians in the Netherlands, were baptized Sunday, July 12, in a Dutch congregation.
It was seen as the Netherlands’ first openly announced baptism service of Christian coverts from Iran.
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