Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Religion Of Tolerance?

The Guardian reports on a Christian church congregation in Iran. The lay preacher, and all of the church members have converted to Christianity from Islam. Such conversions can be punishable by death according to Islamic law.
"We have big problems with the government," said Mr Jaeintan, 33, a once-devout Muslim who converted 14 years ago. "The authorities monitor the church to see who goes into the services. The entry of non-Christians is strictly forbidden.

"We are suffering repression for worshipping a God and the problems are getting worse. I am not allowed to travel abroad to study to be ordained as a priest. The most important thing for the authorities is that Iran remains an Islamic republic, with the Islamic part being more important than the republic.

"I was called into an interrogation with the intelligence service. They told me that the period when people were killed for being Christian is past but that I might find myself with two kilos of heroin in my possession. The punishment for that is life in prison or death. They told me they won't make a hero out of me."