New York, NY, December 14 ... ADL's Task Force on Middle East Minorities condemns the recent arrest of over 100 Christians in Iran. The timing of the arrests follows a pattern of harassment that Iran has used in the past toward its religious minorities, intimidating them just weeks before their religious holidays, in this example just weeks before Christmas.
According to reports, the arrests targeted Christian converts of Muslim backgrounds. This wave of arrests is seen as part of a larger crackdown on Christianity, in response to the growing Evangelical movement in Iran. While Christian worship is permitted by law in Iran, conversion to Christianity from a Muslim background is an offense punishable by more than 10 years of imprisonment.
This latest wave of arrests of Christians exemplifies Iran’s severe discriminatory acts against its religious minorities. Iran’s other religious minorities, including members of the Baha’i faith and Gonabadi Sufis, have increasingly suffered systematic harassment, arbitrary raids, arrests, and imprisonment in the recent years.
The ADL Task Force on Middle East Minorities strongly urges the international community to make clear to the Islamic Republic of Iran that it must abide by the Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reminding the regime that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”