Thursday, November 29, 2012

Remembering those who suffer

Christians in Iran put us to shame by the way they live in the face of persecution, imprisonment and physical and psychological torture.

Since 1979, eight church leaders have been killed by the Iranian regime solely on account of their Christian faith. One narrowly escaped judicial execution in 2012.

Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of Christians is widespead. There are confirmed reports that more than 200 Christians in 48 cities have been arrested and interrogated since 2010. The full figure is almost certainly higher.

Since April the UK Christians in Parliament all-party parliamentary group has been listening to detailed evidence from eye witnesses of extensive suffering inflicted on Iranian Christians by their own government. The group has compiled a 35-page report, which asks the British Government to apply pressure on Iran to uphold the right to religious freedom of all Iranian people and to release Christians in prison for their faith.

At a crowded meeting to launch the report, the group handed a copy of  the document to Alistair Burt, minister of state for the Middle East - himself a Christian.

Rev Sam Yeghnazar, founder and director of Elam Ministries, read a letter from an Iranian prisoner. It said:

Often I have been insulted, humiliated and accused, but I have never doubted my identity in Christ. We rejoice in the Lord and take joy in the God of our salvation. Because neither the walls nor the barbed wires, nor the prison, nor suffering, nor loneliness, nor enemies, nor pain, nor even death separates us from the Lord and each other.

You can read the report here.