The Iranian-born head of the Church of Love, Massoud Fouroozandeh, fled with his family from the Odense district of Vollsmose to a little a secret location in a small town, after the two of the family’s cars were smashed since they had a cross hanging inside.
“I was told by young people in Vollsmose that I shouldn’t drive around the area with the cross hanging in the car. Afterward our car was completely smashed up and burned and the seats slashed. Since then the side-windows of our new car were smashed three times,” he says.
After the vandalism, Massoud Fouroozandeh and his wife didn’t dare let their children play in the playground in Vollsmose.
“They don’t go with a headscarf, and 99% of the other children do that, so they attracted a lot of attention, and it wasn’t safe to send them out to play. Therefore we moved far away from Vollsmose,” he says.
Massoud Fouroozandeh is one of several non-Danish Christians who’ve been subjected to threats and attacks in Denmark. An Albanian member of the Church of Love was recently beaten by his countrymen, because he went around wearing a cross on his neck, and considered being baptized. And as Kristeligt Dagblad wrote in the past, a Christian Iraqi family go [sic] phone calls for two weeks telling them to convert to Islam. Massoud Fouroozandeh says that religious threats have long been known among converts.
“I don’t usually flee from problems. So it’s annoying that you need to move. But now it’s not just about me, but also about the children. There was too much pressure. I went around the whole time thinking ‘what can happen next?’,” says Massoud Fouroozandeh.
He continues to be a priest at the Church of Love, where most of the congregants are Afghans and Iranians. Since the church was established in 1997 he baptized about 500 people. Most were Muslims who converted to Christianity.
“Our message is love and reconciliation. Not everybody can understand that, but it absolutely shouldn’t change our mission to preach the Christian message,” he says.