Forced closure of Church property near Tehran, continued repression of Christian Churches in the Islamic Republic

Summer campsite of the Congregational Church Central Assembly of God Church in Tehran of Iran, situated in the outskirts of Karaj, has been closed down and visitors warned of dire consequences should anyone cross the threshold.

“Garden of Sharon” has, for decades been a popular site for Christian gatherings and conferences. It has, for years now, been closely watched, regulated, and controlled by the Islamic Regime.

FCNN (Farsi Christian News Network) reports from Tehran confirm the simultaneous closure of both the Central Assembly of God Church in Tehran (Congregational) Church in Jennat-Abad, Tehran; and it summer campsite “Garden of Sharon”, in May 2012.

By the powers bestowed on them, officers of the Revolutionary Guards Corp have locked the gates and posted warning notices forbidding entrance.

Not bothering with any pretence of regards for the rule of law and rights of ownership, the Islamic Regime has simply pushed them all aside and ignored.

Until eight years ago, when it was raided by State Security agents of the Islamic Republic, who also detained the large congregation present at the time; “Garden of Sharon” had for some decades been a popular site of well attended summer camps, Bible schools, Christian gatherings, and conferences.

Since then all such gatherings were strictly controlled and in any given week, even after prior ID confirmation, no more 40 people would be allowed to enter.

But since the handover of security responsibilities to the Revolutionary Guards Corp in recent months, these harsh restriction and controls have become even more draconian. The Revolutionary Guards Corps is only accountable to the Islamic Regime’s Supreme Leader; acting on his authority alone.

Revolutionary Guards Corps acts above the law, and having locked the gates of a lawfully registered institution’s property; there simply is no right of appeal left in the Islamic Republic, for the Church to appeal for justice.

Eye witnesses’ report of a large notice posted to the gates, forbidding entry, and warning of severe consequences (in Persian: of bodily punishing type!), should anyone disregard the order.

Depressing news of ever more restrictive measures against Christians and Church activities has become a daily torrent. After the forced closure of Friday Persian language services, compulsory cancellation of Bible teaching classes; the sale and distribution of The Holy Bible and all other Christian literature has become the latest focus of limitations against Christianity by the Islamic Regime.

During Christmas of 2011, Ahvaz church of Assembly of God Church was attacked, the pastor, his wife, and two worshippers imprisoned for weeks, and only released after heavy ransom was paid by the desperate families. The daily pressures grew to such an incredible extend that forced the pastor to leave the city and thence the country.

After the Iranian New Year celebrations of Now-Rouz in March 2012, Islamic Regime’s State Security organisations demanded the immediate closure of all Persian language Christian services across the country; and ordered the full disclosure of National ID numbers of visitors and/or worshippers, causing some to stop attending Church services and increasing the already fever pitch high fears of persecution amongst the Christian community.

Children and young adult classes were forced to stop and “Kaanoon Shaadi”, (Sunday school in Iran Assembly of God Churches), was closed down. Islamic security organisations are particularly ruthless in their handling of Bible classes.

Despite the Islamic Regime’s claims and protestations to the contrary, the closure of Jennat-Abad Church with over a hundred registered members, forced exile of the pastor, blatant opposition to his successor by the Islamic State Security organisations, and the effective confiscation of its campsite in Karaj; do not constitute Islamic compassion, nor any freedom of conscience.

With a multimillion dollar propaganda budget, Islamic Republic would like to portray itself as a uniquely observant member of the international treaties on Human Rights and freedom of religion, committed to providing an atmosphere free from fear and persecution, constantly praising itself on its achievements. Yet blatantly and with no apparent shame is guilty of the most ruthless acts of Anti Freedom practices against its own citizenry.

Source:  Farsi Christian News Network, International Christian Concern

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One Response to Forced closure of Church property near Tehran, continued repression of Christian Churches in the Islamic Republic

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