"However, under Iranian law, evangelizing and converting Muslims to other religions is illegal. Apostasy - converting to another religion from Islam - is technically punishable by death, unless the convert renounces his religion and returns to Islam." How did the Islamic Republic come to misunderstand Islam so spectacularly? When will American "moderate" jet to Tehran to tell them that apostasy is not punishable by death and that the Christians are beloved "People of the Book"? Why do Sharia states seem to miss all the peace and tolerance of Islam that we keep hearing so much about? Why does no one ever ask these questions?
"Iran cracks down on underground 'illegal' churches," by Joanna Paraszczuk for the Jerusalem Post, October 15 (thanks to Vidkun):
Iranian media reports blame "Zionist propaganda" for targeting vulnerable Muslims, converting them to Christianity.
Iranian security forces in Shiraz dismantled a network of four underground 'house churches' on Sunday night, and arrested their leaders, according to reports in Iran's media.
A Monday report by the Persian-language service Fars News, which is close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), described the churches as a 'network of criminals' which exploited vulnerable people.
"Most people attracted to these networks come from weak and vulnerable segments of society, who have psychological, emotional and economic problems," the report said, echoing a recent warning by a prominent Qom cleric.
In June, Qom's Friday prayer Imam Hojatoleslam Seyed Mohammed Saeedi told the Organization of Islamic Propaganda that Iran's enemies targeted vulnerable Iranian families in order to establish underground 'house churches', according to Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News, which works to report violations of Christians' rights in Iran.
Monday's Fars News report blamed the growth in underground Christian houses of worship on the spread of 'Zionist propaganda' from enemies outside the Islamic Republic.
"It is interesting to note that this illegal network is affiliated to Zionist propaganda deployed from outside the country," the report said, although Fars did not specify how the Christian churches were linked to any Jewish or Israeli groups, or explain why it believed Jewish organizations would promote Christianity in Iran.
While Fars News did not report the number of arrests, UK-based group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said on Sunday that seven Christians had been arrested in the Shiraz raid, and were being held in the Shiraz Intelligence Office's notorious No. 100 detention center.
Sunday's arrests are the latest in a wave of detentions in Shiraz. In the past few weeks, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents in Shiraz have arrested around 30 Christian converts and transferred them to the No. 100 detention center, according to Belgian-based Persian-language news site Gooya.
Iran's constitution grants protection to non-Muslims born into other religions, including Jews and Christians.
However, under Iranian law, evangelizing and converting Muslims to other religions is illegal. Apostasy - converting to another religion from Islam - is technically punishable by death, unless the convert renounces his religion and returns to Islam....