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Iran Jails Christian Convert For Insulting Islam

Persecution of Christians in Iran: this story indicates how deeply threatened many governments that persecute Christians are by the Holy Gospel of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. They know that God can transform men’s souls, and authoritarian governments in particular fear that they will lose their control over their people if there are large-scale conversions to Christianity. The result is the persecution and harassment of people who have no one to come to their aid, such as Ismaeil Maghrebinejad. Please pray that Almighty God would grant to him and to all the Christians of Iran the indomitable strength and perseverance in the Faith of the Holy Martyrs.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of Iran, see here.

“Iran Jails Christian Convert For Insulting Islam,” by Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife, January 24, 2020:

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iranian Christians want prayers for a former Muslim who has been jailed for embracing Christianity; his supporters told BosNewsLife. Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, 64, received a three-year prison term on charges of “insulting Islamic sacred beliefs,” said advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC).

The Christian convert was sentenced a year after being detained in the southwestern city of Shiraz. He was charged initially with “propaganda against the state and insulting the sacred Iranian establishment,” MEC confirmed to BosNewsLife. However, “at a hearing on October 22, the judge further accused Ismaeil of ‘apostasy’”, or abandoning Islam, MEC explained. And the court increased bail demands from 10 million to 100 million tomans (US$9000), according to trial observers. Friends reportedly provided pledges to cover the bail demands.

“There were further hearings in November when the apostasy charge was dropped as well as in December and January,” MEC noted.

“At the most recent hearing on January 8 at Branch 105 of the Civil Court in Shiraz, a new judge repeated many of the questions that had been asked previously. The judge focused on the charge of ‘insulting Islamic sacred beliefs in cyberspace’. That charge was because of Ismaeil forwarding a message sent to his phone that was deemed to be insulting to the ruling Iranian clerics,” MEC added.

Found guilty, Ismaeil was sentenced to three years in prison under Article 513 of the Islamic Penal Code, Christians said. The legislation allows for a punishment of between one and five years in prison.

ACTIVISTS OUTRAGED

In a reaction, Mansour Borji of religious rights group Article 18 reportedly called the sentence “a disproportionate reaction to something so ordinary.” Borji said the charges are related to his conversion to Christianity. “This may reveal the real reason why he’s been charged with something that most ordinary Iranians do daily.”

MEC said that Ismaeil is appealing the sentence. However, the efforts are complicated as he also faces two other charges, including “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” and “membership of a group hostile to the regime,” MEC explained.

Iranian Christians have expressed disappointment at what they view as the “harshness” of a sentence that they claim is directed against Ismaeil’s Christian faith. They also request prayer that “God will strengthen and encourage Ismaeil during the judicial proceedings,” said MEC, which is closely monitoring the case.

Other prayer requests include the ability of the “his lawyer to make a strong defence” so that “the three-year prison sentence will be successfully appealed.”

Iranian Christians also pray that charges of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” and “membership of a group hostile to the regime” will be dropped. They hope that “Iranian authorities will uphold the rights of religious minorities and that Christian converts will not be persecuted,” MEC said….

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