Thursday, July 5, 2012

Iranian Imam Warns against Spread of House Churches

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

IRAN (ANS) -- The increasing spread of Christianity in Iran and the resulting growth of house churches among Iranians has is greatly concerning Iranian religious experts and clerics. They make frequent statements about the situation.
Hojatol-Eslam Seyed Mohammad Saeedi

According to the Iranian Christian news agency, “Mohabat News,” in his latest remarks in a meeting with the leader and managers of the Organization of Islamic Propaganda in the religious city of Qom, Hojatol-Eslam Seyed Mohammad Saeedi, who is also the Friday prayer Imam, warned against “the enemy's efforts” to establish "house-churches.”

Mohabat News said he called on cultural authorities, especially those at the Organization of Islamic Propaganda, to be pioneers in promoting religious teachings.

Qom is considered the religious capital of Iran and because the most prominent Shi'ite seminary is based in the city, it is also known as the center of the Shi'ite world.

Mohabat News reported that the Islamic cleric, saying “some families are vulnerable,” called for the implementation of propagating programs for Iranian families. He said, “The presence of clerics among families is the best and most effective way to promote religious matters and sharia laws."

Mohabat News said that taking such positions against Christianity in Iran is not something new. Some Ayatollahs including top religious experts Mesbah-Yazdi, Vahid Khorasani, Makarem-Shiraz, have “already insulted Christianity and Christians.”

Mohabat News said the same statements by Ayatollahs have prompted security and intelligence forces to impose more pressure on Iranian Christians.

Ayatollah Khorasani

Mohabat News said along the same line, Ayatollah Khorasani, a well known religious authority, claimed, in a gathering with Islamic seminary students in Qom held to address Christian evangelism in Iran, that they even know the number of young people in Qom who have converted to Christianity!

Mohabat News reported that the Shi'ite Ayatollah criticized the growth of Christianity in Iran and said, “Christianity rooted in Iran is deceiving young Shi'ites and they (the authorities) are fighting for who will be the boss.”
After saying that he requested that Christian evangelism be eradicated from the country.

Mohabat News said he added, “Isn't there someone to say what it means to have this much corrupt Christian propaganda even in the religious city of Qom?”

After that, Mohabat News said, he severely criticized the senior administrators and authorities for giving their attention to unimportant matters and being negligent in such issues. He also warned them not to be negligent any longer.

Mohabat News said Heydar Moslehi, the Iranian Intelligence Minister, also spoke in a meeting held in Feizieh Seminary in Qom. He outlined ways to deal with the growth of Christianity and house churches in Iran, and announced a series of new plans against Christianity.

Mohabat News commented, “The increased threats, arrests and torture of a number of Christians and Christian converts by security and judicial authorities, especially in religious cities, is convincing evidence that the Ayatollahs (Islamic clerics) direct the intelligence and security services of the regime in dealing with the growth of Christianity in Iran.”

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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