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Iran: Christian converts cleared of any wrongdoing forced to undertake ‘re-education’ classes in the Islamic faith

The Iranian government targets converts to Christianity because it considers them to be apostate and threats to the state. 

The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Converts cleared of any crime must now attend ‘re-education’ classes,” Article 18, February 1, 2022:

A group of Christian converts cleared of any wrongdoing in November are now being forced to undertake “re-education” classes in the Islamic faith.

The Christians, from the western city of Dezful, were called by intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) late on Friday night and told they must come to see them the next morning.

Some of the Christians – 10 in all, including the eight who were cleared in November of any crime – went as instructed, at 10am on Saturday, despite their lawyer telling them it was against the law to be summoned over the phone.

“I told my clients not to go, and to say, ‘We have a lawyer, so summon us legally,’” Iman Soleimani explained. “But they were anxious and worried.”

Those who didn’t attend the meeting were then called and asked why they hadn’t.

The Christians were then informed that, as they had been “misled”, 10 sessions with Islamic clerics would soon be arranged, to “guide them back onto the right path”….

They “merely converted to a different religion”, and “didn’t carry out any propaganda against other groups”, the prosecutor stated, adding that “apostasy” from Islam was something that could be punished under Islamic law (Sharia) “and in the hereafter”, but was “not criminalised in the laws of Iran”.

Despite this, the Christians must now endure 10 compulsory sessions with Islamic clerics, who will attempt to revert them to Islam in what is a clear breach of their rights under the international covenants to which Iran is a signatory….

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