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Christianity on the Rise in Iran, Despite Fear and Intimidation

Christianity is growing in Iran despite intimidation, burnings and other concerted efforts to block its promotion, according to an Iranian Christian News Agency that claims Christianity is spreading among youth and families in the country.

For those who have followed the case of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, it is no surprise that the Islamic Republic of Iran holds a stern antipathy toward the embrace of Christianity. Still, its very own constitution speaks of respect and even tolerance for Christians and Christian worship.

Article 13 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution dictates that Iranian Christians, Jews and Zoroastrian minorities, reserve the right to their autonomous pursuit of worship, through rites as well as ceremonies.

Article 14 also states that: "The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Muslim citizens, are obligated to behave honorably towards non-Muslims and to interact with them with justice and good ethics and that they should honor their human rights.”

Nevertheless, despite such egalitarian declarations, the code of conduct described in the pages of the constitution is replaced by threats, imprisonments, and beatings, stemming from the fervor of religious intolerance.

The government does not tolerate these minorities nor does it give them the right to live without fear of reprisals, according to Iranian Christian News Agency, Mohabat News.

In a routine border inspection, on the March 14, 2011, the office of Contraband Search and Seizure, along with the Revolutionary Guards, discovered two boxes containing 300 New Testaments on a bus and reportedly burned them.

Following a speech of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei regarding the need to fight against and suppress home-based churches, a brutal and inhumane crackdown along with numerous arrests of Christians inside Iran has ensued, according to the news agency.

Still, despite these efforts, the growth of Christianity is accelerating quite rapidly, especially among the youth, and the word of God is making its way into Iranian homes.

According to reports published by the government-run website Hamseda, during an event sponsored by the office for Islamic Propaganda, the head of the Islamic Thoughts and Culture's research center acknowledged the wide readership of the Torah and Gospel (Old Testament and New Testament) by Iranians.

In a ruling to impede the continuing growth of the Christian religion, the ministry of the Culture and Islamic Guidance has forbidden all bookstores from selling literature approved by the official churches of Iran.

Despite these measures, however, the religious figures of the regime acknowledge that the gospel is spreading throughout the country. Regardless of the danger involved, Christian youth, and many other people, clearly talk about these issues and share the message of Christ's love with others.

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