Iran: ‘Converting to Christianity or any other religion is really a heroic act’

February 12, 2022

The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“‘Converting to Christianity or any other religion is really a heroic act in Iran,’” Article 18, February 9, 2022:

The “heroic act” of converting to any other religion than Islam was the central talking point in yesterday’s webinar on “The Persecution of Christians in Iran”, hosted by IranWire’s Maziar Bahari and featuring Article18’s Mansour Borji and three Christian former prisoners of conscience.

“Conversion is a massive obstacle in most Muslim-majority countries, including Iran,” Mr Borji explained.

“When the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was being signed by member states, Iran and some of the other countries had objections to this one particular article, Article 18, which provided and guaranteed the right to choose one’s religion and exercise it freely – personally and also privately and publicly. But nevertheless, Iran signed it and later on adopted it through parliament … and that is now an obligation for Iran to respect this right for all its citizens.” 

Yet while Iran continues to claim that it does provide this right, the testimony of the three Christian former prisoners of conscience on the panel painted a different picture, leading host Maziar Bahari to conclude: “Converting to Christianity or any other religion in Iran is really a heroic act!”

What else did the panelists say?

All three former prisoners of conscience, Shadi NoveiriKavian Fallah-Mohammadi, and Vahid Hakkani, explained how they had been arrested only because of their decision to convert to Christianity and subsequent membership of a house-church because, as Kavian explained, “the government of Iran had started to shut down the official churches that speak Persian all around the country”….