The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi admitted publicly that Christianity is spreading in different parts of the country. He expressed concern over this information that he has summoned Iranian Muslims who converted to Christianity, reports Radio Frada.
Speaking to Shia preachers in the city of Qom on May 4, 2019, Alavi disclosed that his Ministry and the Qom Seminary initiated a campaign to prevent individuals from changing their beliefs. He said people who have shown interest in Christianity, even those who are selling sandwiches, have been summoned. No further details were given about what the ministry has been doing to counter the growth of Christianity.
We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting.Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace. —Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s Intelligence Minister
“We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting,” said Alavi. “Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace.”
The Ministry lectured the apostates that Islam is “the religion of brotherhood and friendship,” but the new Christians argued that there is no peace in Islam since there are ongoing disputes among religious scholars. The converts wanted religious leaders to be an example to followers.
Alavi added that, “It is not the job of the intelligence community to find the roots of these conversion [from Islam]. But it’s happening right before our eyes.”
Iran recognizes Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, but Muslims who convert to other religions could face long-term jail terms and even death sentences. The Islamic Republic tolerates the persecution of Christian converts, believing that they are “acting against national security by operating or taking part in congregations at churches set up in people’s homes.”
Since the 1976 Islamic revolution, reports say that at least 6 Iranian Christian leaders have been killed and hundreds of Christians have been imprisoned.
The UN and various human rights organizations have repeatedly called on Iran to respect its citizens’ right to religious freedom.