Around the world, more than 340 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination simply for following Jesus. A “World Watch List” report by Open Doors reveals these high levels affect 1 in 8 believers worldwide. Churches are destroyed; Christians are killed for their faith; and believers are detained without a trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned. Iran is 8th out of the 50 most dangerous countries in which to live as a Christian.
In Iran (biblical Persia), the official religious statistics of the 85 million people who live in this western Asia nation show 89% are Shi’ite Muslim, 10% are Sunni Muslims, and the remaining 1% are Christian or other religion.
In 1979, the Shah (king) of Iran was overthrown, and the nation came under religious Islamic law. Converts of Muslims to Christianity, according to Iran’s Islamic law, can face the death penalty.
At the time of the Islamic Revolution, there were less than 500 Muslim background believers in Iran. That was then, but Iran is rapidly changing. Against all odds, the Iranian youth are becoming increasingly distant from Islam, which is a great concern for the Iranian government. According to insiders, mosques are nearly empty of men praying.
The Iranian Islamic government implemented a two-fold plan to stop the spread of Christianity in the country, and it has failed on both fronts. First, they allocated millions of dollars for Islamic propaganda across the country. Secondly, they included a crackdown campaign focused on newly converted followers of Jesus to place fear in those interested in becoming Christians.
Christianity sees massive gains, especially with the young. Iranian Christian leader Mike Ansari reported a “pandemic of hope” revival has been taking place in the country. Ansari runs Mohabat TV, a popular Christian satellite channel in Iran. He revealed that their station is recording 10 times more online salvations than in the previous year. That is an astounding 1,000% increase in people coming to Christ during the past year.
A former Muslim who broadcasts Christian programming into Iran in their language makes this statement, “Iran will be a Christian country,” based upon Jeremiah 49:38. Further insight will be shared in our next post.
In Iran, Muslims are disillusioned with the Islamic faith and are responding to Jesus in unprecedented ways. Ask God to give them the courage to take a stand for Christ and protect them from any evil planned against their lives.