Crackdown against Christian converts in Shiraz
Tehran (AsiaNews) – Iranian police in southern Iran arrested Muslim converts to Christianity searching their in mid-May, Compass Direct News reported.
The series of arrests began on 11 May when two couples were taken into custody before boarding their flights at the Shiraz International Airport.
Homayon Shokohie Gholamzadeh, 48, and his wife Fariba Nazemiyan Pur, 40; and Amir Hussein Bab Anari, 25, and his wife Fatemeh Shenasa, 25, were subjected to hours of interrogation, questioning them solely “just about their faith and house church activities,” an Iranian source told Compass.
Eventually the two women were released the same day of their arrest, Anari was held until 14 May but Gholamzadeh remains jailed.
On the same day that the aforementioned Christians were arrested in the airport, police raided the home of Hamid Allaedin Hussein, 58, arresting him and his three adult children, Fatemah, 28, Muhammed Ali, 27, and Mojtaba, 21.
All the family’s books, CDs, computers and printers were hauled off as well. All except Mojtaba were later released.
Two days later, police picked up two more former Muslims involved in a separate house church in Shiraz as the Christian converts were talking together in a city park. Both men, Mahmood Matin and a second man identified only as Arash, are still in prison.
Unofficial estimates indicate a growing number of Muslim converts to Christianity among the so-called Protestant “house churches”.
For Iran’s Islamic regime “foreign religions” are seen as a threat to national security.
In the last few years many Muslim converts to Christianity have been executed on “espionage” charges.
Under Iranian law apostasy is a capital crime for anyone who leaves Islam.