Iran: Christian converts convicted of house-church membership

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Four converts in have been convicted of criminality due to their membership of house churches, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

One of those charged and sentenced recently is Iranian Christian Rahmat Rostamipour, ICC said. Rostamipour was arrested in April, when government officials also interrogated his wife and confiscated his family’s phones, ID cards, and other personal belongings.

Rostamipour was sentenced to five years of deprivation of social rights and a fine for “engaging in educational activities contrary to the holy of by establishing house-churches.”

Earlier this month, three other Christian-convert house- members, Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh, were convicted of “engaging in propaganda and of deviant beliefs contrary to the holy Sharia.” The defendants’ assertion that they “reserve the right to have a place for and collective worship” went unheard and they were each sentenced to five years in prison.

“Though Iran’s constitution does recognize Christianity as a minority in the country, authorities do not recognize the Christianity of converts,” ICC said in its report. “These converts are not allowed to attend the churches of established Christian communities, such as Armenian and Assyrian Christians, leaving them with nowhere to gather for communal worship and prayer other than house churches. But the unsanctioned nature of these house churches makes them vulnerable to government persecution, labeling them as offensive to Islam and a threat to national ,” ICC said.

The Islamic Republic of Iran ranks 9th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.

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