The Iranian government targets converts to Christianity because it considers them to be apostates and thus threats to the foundation of the state. We see this again in the story below: “Loved ones who went to inquire about him at the local prosecutor’s office were told only that he is an ‘apostate’ and will be held ‘for a while.’”
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 ChristianPersecution.com coverage of Iran, see here.
“‘When I became a Christian, I was beaten and kicked out of the house,’” Article 18, February 22, 2023:
Parsa’s story is different from a lot of other Iranian Christians who have experienced persecution.
For most, the primary source of persecution is the state, but in Parsa’s case, although he was also pressured by the security forces, the main point of pressure came from his family.
Parsa converted to Christianity at the age of 21, and this proved very difficult to accept for his family, who were devout Muslims.
His mother and brother told him they were glad about the positive changes in his behaviour since his conversion, but sad he no longer prayed with them.
“I explained to them that I had started to believe in Jesus,” Parsa explains, “and my brother said, with a lump in his throat: ‘You’ll be sorry if Dad learns about it!’ A month later, my father found out, beat me up, and kicked me out of the house.”
Parsa was also pressured at work, and told he would be fired unless he returned to Islam. Parsa refused; so that was the end of his job.
Meanwhile, at home, the pressure from his family continued. They separated his dishes and towels from theirs, made him stay in different rooms from his siblings, and even locked him up at night.
“They thought I had been given medicine, which had changed me and calmed me down so that I could forgive and love,” he says. “My mother used to say: ‘Your behaviour is great. Stay the same, but come and pray with us!’ I would try to explain to her what the real reason was for my change in behaviour, but she couldn’t accept it.”
Parsa explains how his family even invited Islamic scholars and a friend of his to try to change his mind. But this friend only testified that he’d seen positive changes in Parsa since his conversion, and a few months later he too converted.
Still, Parsa’s family would not give up. They called upon an acquaintance with ties to the regime, and asked him to arrest Parsa, but this man replied: “Please don’t ask me to do such a thing! I don’t want to! Because if someone is arrested for these charges, there is no way out, and they will definitely kill him, and then you and your family will regret it. You’ve been patient until now, so continue enduring it, and maybe he’ll regret it in the future.”
But Parsa did not regret his decision, and continued to meet up with his new Christian friends.
He was baptised in the summer of 2013. But two years later, as Parsa and two of his Christian friends were finalising their plans for a new business venture together, their premises was raided by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence.
The agents drove Parsa back to his house, to conduct a search, and his father cursed him, telling the agents: “This boy has ruined us! We did everything we could, but we couldn’t bring him back to the right path. Why didn’t you come sooner? Take him with you and do whatever your heart desires. Even if you kill him, I won’t complain!”….