Concerns Over Jailed Iranian Christians Amid Political Turmoil

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent

Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, have been held for over four months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.
Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, have been held for over four months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News) -- As the world focuses on the political turmoil in Iran, two detained Christian women are "in danger of being forgotten" amid concerns they may face execution, Iranian Christians said Tuesday, July 7.

Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, have been held for over four months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison apparently for converting to Christianity from Islam.
Iranian Christians and rights investigators said the two young women, who were arrested March 5, suffered sleep deprivation as part of police interrogations and were held in solitary confinement for three weeks in May and early June.
Later, they were put together in one small cell for about two weeks before being moved to a larger area to make place for other inmates as many protesters were detained following last month's disputed presidential elections,  said Christians with close knowledge about the situation.
About 600 women were reportedly brought to Evin prison during the protests.
EXECUTION PENDING?

There was still no clarity regarding the case of the two Christian women, Tuesday, July 7, with one judge reportedly telling them they were both to be executed as ‘apostates’. "Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to 'expedite his sentence'," said Pray for Iran, an Internet initiative of Iranian churches.

After international pressure, the Iranian Government's Parliamentary Committee reportedly removed articles stipulating the death penalty for apostasy from the Islamic Penal Code Bill, but the changes have to be approved by legislators.
"Until the Islamic Penal Code Bill is finalized by the Iranian Parliament and Guardian Council, there is still a danger that the judicial committee’s revisions may not be taken into account," explained Alexa Papadouris,  Advocacy Director of Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a religious rights group.
Apostasy along with murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, and drug trafficking are all punishable by death in Iran, and last week Iranian media reported that at least six people were hanged for murder in the same prison where the two Christian women are held.
"GREAT COURAGE"

Yet, "Maryam and Marzieh have demonstrated great courage and trust in God. They believe the promise of Jesus that they will be given the words to speak when they are taken before judges," said Sam Yeghnazar, founder of Elam Ministries, an organization supporting te growing churches in Iran.
Elam Ministries said the outcome of the "political turmoil" in Iran "could crucially impact the level of suffering" of the two women and other Christians who were formerly Muslim.
Besides Amirizadeh and Rustampoor, over 50 Christians were arrested, some being held for weeks in solitary confinement, several Christian sources said.
At least eight prominent Christians were killed since 1979, Elam Ministries added.
IRAN HARD-LINERS
"If the position of hard-liners is strengthened there is a real danger they could unleash more persecution against the church," the group added.
Elam Ministries linked the attacks to concern among Iran's leaders about the spread of Christianity in the Islamic nation. "Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world."
The group said in 1979, there were less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. "Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation."
Church leaders have reportedly said that they believe "millions" can be added "to the church in the next few years-such is the spiritual hunger that exists and the disillusionment with the Islamic regime."
OPPOSITION LEADER
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed Monday, July 6, to continue his campaign against the re-election of the perceived hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
However Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has banned demonstrations and accused Western leaders for their alleged "meddling" in Iran's internal affairs, threatening to respond with a "Iron fist."
At least 20 protesters and eight members of the feared Basij militia have died in recent protests, officials said.  They include Neda Agha Soltan, a 26-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a suspected militia sniper.
Pictures and video footage of Soltan, with blood pouring from her mouth and nose as a few Iranian men struggled to save her, have became a powerful symbol of the protests taking place over Iran's disputed presidential election.
Authorities have reportedly forced her family to leave their Tehran home, and refused to return her body for a proper funeral.

EXECUTION PENDING?
There was still no clarity regarding the case of the two Christian women, Tuesday, July 7, with one judge reportedly telling them they were both to be executed as ‘apostates’. "Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to 'expedite his sentence'," said Pray for Iran, an Internet initiative of Iranian churches.
After international pressure, the Iranian Government's Parliamentary Committee reportedly removed articles stipulating the death penalty for apostasy from the Islamic Penal Code Bill, but the changes have to be approved by legislators.
"Until the Islamic Penal Code Bill is finalized by the Iranian Parliament and Guardian Council, there is still a danger that the judicial committee’s revisions may not be taken into account," explained Alexa Papadouris,  Advocacy Director of Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a religious rights group.
Apostasy along with murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, and drug trafficking are all punishable by death in Iran, and last week Iranian media reported that at least six people were hanged for murder in the same prison where the two Christian women are held.
"GREAT COURAGE"
Yet, "Maryam and Marzieh have demonstrated great courage and trust in God.
They believe the promise of Jesus that they will be given the words to speak when they are taken before judges," said Sam Yeghnazar, founder of Elam Ministries, an organization supporting te growing churches in Iran.
Elam Ministries said the outcome of the "political turmoil" in Iran "could crucially impact the level of suffering" of the two women and other Christians who were formerly Muslim.
Besides, Amirizadeh and Rustampoor over 50 Christians were arrested, some being held for weeks in solitary confinement, several Christian sources said.
At least eight prominent Christians were killed since 1979, Elam Ministries added.
IRAN HARD-LINERS
"If the position of hard-liners is strengthened there is a real danger they could unleash more persecution against the church," the group added.
Elam Ministries linked the attacks to concern among Iran's leaders about the spread of Christianity in the Islamic nation. "Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world."
The group said in 1979, there were less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. "Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation."
Church leaders have reportedly said that they believe "millions" can be added "to the church in the next few years-such is the spiritual hunger that exists and the disillusionment with the Islamic regime."
OPPOSITION LEADER
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed Monday, July 6, to continue his campaign against the re-election of the perceived hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
However Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has banned demonstrations and accused Western leaders for their alleged
"meddling" in Iran's internal affairs, threatening to respond with a "Iron fist."
At least 20 protesters and eight members of the feared Basij militia have died in recent protests, officials said.  They include Neda Agha Soltan, a 26-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a suspected militia sniper.
Pictures and video footage of Soltan, with blood pouring from her mouth and nose as a few Iranian men struggled to save her, have became a powerful symbol of the protests taking place over Iran's disputed presidential election.
Authorities have reportedly forced her family to leave their Tehran home, and refused to return her body for a proper funeral.

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4 thoughts on “Concerns Over Jailed Iranian Christians Amid Political Turmoil”

  1. Once again, as long as humanity seeks to divide itself in the way it does, the reality of God can not be fully realised. One day realisation will dawn that God is over and above the act of ritualisation - no matter the form. By all means attach your selves to whatever ritual you feel comfortable with, but if/when it leads to the killing, maiming of others who seek to follow a different ritual in their attempt to understand the nature of God, then immediately, these people are defiling the reality of what it means to be aware of the true essence of God.
    The Universal Mind has Presence, that for most individuals currently, is difficult to fully understand. Do not equate an/the act of ritual, and surrounding belief systems with the real presence of God. Allow yourselves to become open, abandonment of preconceptions is essential - become as children.

    • {{{... Once again, as long as humanity seeks to divide itself in the way it does ...}}}

      Jesus Christ Said

      "He who is not with me is against me, and he who will not give me help in getting people together is driving them away."
      Luke 11:23 (Bible in Basic English)

      God The Son Said

      "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
      John 14:6 (KJV)

      Still The Truth Is Told

      "So Jesus said again, Truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
      "All who came before me are thieves and outlaws: but the sheep did not give ear to them."
      "I am the door: if any man goes in through me he will have salvation, and will go in and go out, and will get food."
      "The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure."
      John 10:7-10 (KJV)

      Be Wise - Believe In Jesus And Live

      "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:"
      "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
      "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:"
      Colossians 1:12-14 (KJV)

      Love, Joe

    • {{{... "Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to 'expedite his sentence'," ...}}}

      God Said

      "Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?"
      "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
      "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
      John 16:31-33

      For Sure Beloved

      "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
      2 Timothy 3:12

      Those Who Believe In Jesus The Christ Will Live Forever

      "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
      John 11:25

      And Those Who Don't - Won't

      "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
      "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
      John 3:35-36

      See The LORD Jesus And Believe And Be Blessed Beloved
      Love, Joe

  2. {{{... "Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to 'expedite his sentence'," ...}}}

    God Overcame

    "Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?"
    "Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
    "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
    John 16:31-33

    So For Sure Beloved

    "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
    2 Timothy 3:12

    All Those Who Believe In Jesus Will Live Forever

    "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
    John 11:25

    And Those Who Don't - Won't

    "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
    "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
    John 3:35-36

    See Jesus And Believe And Be Blessed Beloved - Love, Joe

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