A courageous ex-Muslim battles the odds in Iran. From IranFocus, with thanks to Susan:
Iranian authorities have refused to give any reason for the arrest and prolonged detention of Hamid Pourmand, 47, a lay pastor in the Assemblies of God Church. No one has been allowed contact with Pourmand since September 9, when he was arrested along with 85 other evangelical church leaders….
Of the other Christians detained with Pourmand, 76 were released by nightfall the day of their arrest. Ten pastors were kept for interrogations for three more days, after which Pourmand’s nine colleagues were released conditionally. The freed pastors were warned that they should expect to be summoned again within a few weeks for more questioning.
But authorities have remained tight-lipped about Pourmand, a former Muslim serving as the volunteer pastor of a congregation in Bandar-i Bushehr. Famous as the site of Iran’s first nuclear reactor, the port city is located 240 miles south of Tehran along the Persian gulf.
At the time of Pourmand’s arrest, his Assyrian Christian wife and two young children were visiting relatives in Tehran. When the family returned to Bushehr, they discovered that their home had been broken into and ransacked, with all of the family’s papers, documents and photographs removed.
Fear for his Life
“His relatives fear for his life,” one source admitted, particularly if the secret police transfer him to the jurisdiction of a military court.
After converting to Christianity nearly 25 years ago, Pourmand had continued to serve as an officer in the Iranian army, despite laws instituted after the Islamic revolution to prohibit non-Muslims from holding officer rank. “Hamid did not keep his conversion secret,” one of his friends told Compass. “But he is an honest man, and people liked and respected him.”
A few days before Pourmand and his fellow evangelicals were arrested, a top official within the Ministry of Security Intelligence spoke on state television’s Channel 1, warning the populace against the many “foreign religions” active in the country and pledging to protect the nation’s “beloved Shiite Islam” from all outside forces.
Christian Activities ‘Out of Control’
Reportedly, this same official participated in the extended interrogation of the 10 evangelical pastors, complaining that Christian activities in Iran had gone “out of control” and insisting that their church do something to stop the flood of Christian literature, television and radio programs targeting Iran.
Over the past year, prominent government leaders have publicly denounced Christianity, Sufism and Zoroastrianism as threats to Iran’s national security.