Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Iranian Ayatollah Sobhani Invites Christian Leaders of Iran to Debate

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

IRAN (ANS) -- According to the Iranian Christian News Agency “Mohabat News,” the Iranian government's official news agency, ISNA, reported that Ayatollah Sobhani recently commented in one of his Quran interpretation classes, in Hojatieh Seminary in Qom, that “If Christians are ready, we are ready to have discussions with them."
Mohabat News said Ayatollah Sobhani is one of the Marja-e-Taghlid in Qom (literally meaning a source guidance and reference) who recently warned about the rapid growth of Christianity among the Iranian youth. He said that 600 people in the city of Neishaboor alone had converted to Christianity.
Mohabat News said Sobhani did not mention how and where these debates should take place, and which Christians would be allowed to participate.
In March 2011, Mohabat News reported, the website “Alef,” affiliated with the Islamic republic, published an article by “Soroush Shahriari,” an Iranian in Canada who (Mohabat News said) claimed to be a professor at Carleton University. Mohabat News said he invited Iranian Christians to a debate on Iran’s state-run television. He said this proposal was a way to deal with growth of Christianity in Iran.
In that article, Mohabat News said, Shahriari used words Like “sedition” and “calamity” to describe the growth of Christianity.
Mohabat News said he also proposed some solutions. In his opinion, one of the best ways to combat Christianity, as in the case of Ayatollah Sobhani, was to invite Christian clerics to debates on state-run media and to discuss Christianity and examine its legitimacy.
Mohabat News added that the Iranian professor in Canada also claimed that the Islamic government can get rid of Christianity in Iran within a week!
Mohabat News said Shahriari’s article on the “Alef” website insulted Christianity and other non-Muslims more than ten times with words such as pests, seditious and cruel.
Mohabat News said, “In a religion that allows a Muslim university professor use these words to attack others, it is crystal clear that what other extremists and fanatics would do. They will only tolerate others after spilling blood and/or stoning.”
Mohabat News concluded, "So it seems that it will impossible to have such debates and the government would not tolerate other beliefs in the Iranian society."
For more information about Mohabat News go to

Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."

Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at

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