Iran Arrests Over 100 Christians In Crackdown On Conversions
Iranian authorities have over the past few days reportedly arrested more than 100 Christians, as the regime seeks to crack down on conversions and what it construes as preaching by evangelicals. While Christians make up less than 1 percent—around 350,000 people—of Iran’s population, growing public interest in the faith apparently is causing concern within the Islamic corridors of power in Tehran. Although the existing Christian community is for the most part accepted by Iran’s theocratic rulers, conversion from Islam remains a criminal offense in the country. Rights groups have long criticized the mullahs for their mistreatment of Christian converts in addition to other religious and ethnic minority groups. For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in July accused Tehran of jailing and torturing Christians in a “brutal” campaign of persecution.