If you think there is religious persecution in some parts of the world, there is one place in particular that is perhaps the most dangerous place of all. It is in the nation of Iran. There are several Christians now in Iranian prisons who have little or no hope of getting out any time soon. More than a dozen Christians currently imprisoned have not even been allowed to make phone calls to family or even see an Iranian attorney. And Iran is not even publicly giving their names, even though several American family members know they are there.
Almost every minority religious group is being affected and not just Christians. According to Reuters News Agency, there is a group of Baha’i leaders that are also jailed, simply for having differing faiths other than the state-endorsed Muslim faith.1 Iran is over 92% Muslim which holds to the faith of Islam, while Baha’is’, a monotheistic religion with over 300 million believers worldwide, makes up less than 5% of the population. Iran does not allow any religious freedom or freedom of expression in its nation. At least 70 have been killed and well over 400 jailed that are known about, even though the number is considered to be much higher. There are no official numbers because Iran does not comply with U.N.’s Human and Civil Rights International Laws.
P. J. Crowley, a U. S. State Department spokesperson, says that the number of the minority religious prisoners is easily 60 or more and that the numbers may actually be conservative. And the pressure from the United Nations has not only had little effect, the numbers those jailed, tortured or imprisoned, as grown exponentially over the past 12 months.
Amnesty International reports that most of the minority religious are either killed or jailed and charged with espionage.2 However the repressive regime of Iran simply states that they are a threat to national security, while presenting little or no evidence for the charges. International Human Rights groups have repeatedly stated that these charges are trumped up and the prisoners never get heard in a public courtroom; they are simply charged, tried, convicted and jailed. Some of the charged are even killed.
Anyone that is non-Muslim is considered to be spies and these include Jews, Christians, and in fact any religious group that is not Islamic. The U. N. estimates that the greatest minority religion in Iran is made up of Christians, with over 300, 000, primarily of Armenian ethnicity.3 And these Christians are marked people. They are passed over for jobs, promotions, governmental agencies, discriminated against and often their businesses are burned and their owners are imprisoned.
Iran has one of the worst human rights records in history and the problems are growing, perhaps due to increasing tensions between them and the West. And U. N. Human Rights organizations that monitor human rights violations are not allowed inside the country to specifically document such abuses. Few of Iran’s religious minority will even talk about it for fear of repercussions. The problem of religious persecution is growing worldwide, but particularly in Iran.
Originally published on Associated Content
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