Iran: Christians Sentenced to 80 Lashes
July 05, 2017
Just the thought that celebrating communion could be a crime carrying a sentence of imprisonment and 80 lashes, would send chills down the spine of any Christian. In Iran four Christians are being charged with threatening national security in Iran, simply for celebrating communion.
Mission Network News reports that according to a press release from Middle East Concern, “Yasser, Saheb and Mohammadreza were arrested on 13th May 2016 with their pastor, Yousef, as they were celebrating communion.” In addition to the charges of threatening national security, Miles Windsor of Middle East Concern says the former three men “have been charged and sentenced with 80 lashes for drinking communion wine.”
Yet, Windsor also adds, “For Christians in Iran, it is legal for them to drink communion wine.” So why the charges? “The issue is they don’t recognize these men as Christians; they recognize them as Muslims.”
In fact, charges against Christian meetings, public and private, are nothing new. “It can seem as if [officials] have this paranoia that any gathering, any meeting of those who stand contrary to the political and religious nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran can be seen as a threat.
“My experience with Iranian believers is that they’re extraordinarily bold and they’re extraordinarily faithful,” Windsor says. “They persevere in the full knowledge of the situation that could become them for living as believers in Iran.”
In a recent hearing, “the local court officials had been unable to reach a verdict,” according to the Middle East Concern press release. Windsor explains, “During the hearing, the judge informed the men that within 20 days the court would issue a verdict relating to the charge of ‘acting against national security’ which has been made against them.”
Please keep these men in your prayers!
Mission Network News copy / TRUNEWS summary.