Wednesday, August 4, 2010

IRAN: Islamic police state escalates repression and persecution

Biblical revelation preaches freedom in love. Islam (like all man-made religions) demands submission to law. While the God of the Bible demands perfection in love he freely provides a remedy for sin -- Jesus Christ -- and the Holy Spirit as helper. This is indeed Good News! On the other hand, while Islam demands submission to law it provides no remedy for sin, and so can only culminate in failure.

Meanwhile, the dictators of Islam employ religious forces -- Revolutionary Guards, Basij, muttawa, hisba, taliban etc -- to police 'vice and virtue'. To protect their own privilege and hegemony they deny Islam's failure and deflect scrutiny from Islam by blaming the victims. Driven by apostaphobia, they wage war against fitna (anything that could tempt a Muslim to doubt Islam).

Sunni reformation (as in Saudi Arabia) and Shi'ite revolution (as in Iran) have only produced repressive, totalitarian police states wracked with poverty, cruelty, despair and disillusionment.

In Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) was established for the defence of Islam, while the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) was established to eliminate all opposition and dissent -- which they virtually did, through purges, terrors and serial killings.

When President Khatami (1997-2004) pressed for reforms after the manner of 'glasnost' (openness) and 'perestroika' (restructuring), Ayatollah Khamenei engineered his removal. Through the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005 - ), the hegemony of the blood-stained IRGC and MOIS hardliners of the 1980s-90s has been restored.
See:
Iran: The Islamic Revolution is complete.
WEA RL News & Analysis by Elizabeth Kendal 29 Aug 2005
Iran: Old Guards Return.
WEA RL News & Analysis by Elizabeth Kendal 14 Dec 2005

The regime has just announced a massive boost in funding for the Basij (state sponsored Islamic vigilantes) to enable more recruitment and to establish 7000 new Resistance Bases across the state.
See:
Exclusive: Millions allocated to recruiting Bassij militia
Iran Focus, Tehran, 29 may 2010

Commander: IRGC, Basij Forces Ready to Defend Islamic Revolution
Fars News Agency, Tehran, 22 July 2010

Basij Forces Plan 7,000 New Bases
By Arash Aramesh, for InsideIran.org, 29 July 2010

Iran militia murder baker for calling Supreme Leader a dog
Iran Focus, Isfahan, Monday 2 Aug 2010

PERSECUTION

Persecution of the church escalated through 2009, aided by the fact that on account of Iraq, the US now needs Iran more than Iran needs the US -- leaving the US without leverage.

As noted in RLPB 041 (3 Feb 2010), the regime is escalating repression in order to curtail unrest emanating from widespread social dissatisfaction and economic distress. A wave of persecution hit the church in late Dec 2009 and early Jan 2010, during which time numerous Christians were harassed, interrogated, threatened and arrested. While most have been released on bond, some remain incarcerated and others have been added to their number.

Pastor Behrouz (Marco) Khanjani, who was arrested in Chiraz on 11 January after responding to a request from the authorities that he present himself for questioning, was bailed on 17 March only to be rearrested on 16 June. His wife, Fatemeh (Marie) Torkkajouri, was arrested the following day and placed in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. After informing Pastor Behrouz of his wife's fate, the authorities reportedly incarcerated him in 'Plate 100', a dungeon of the intelligent services in Chiraz. Their daughter Esperance is in the care of Muslim family members. Fatemeh was released on bail of $20,000 on 22 July.
See:
Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani and His Wife Held Incommunicado.
Human Rights House of Iran (RAHANA) 13 July 2010

Christian Citizen Fatemeh Tork-kajouir released on bail
RAHANA 23 July 2010

Meanwhile, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who was arrested in Rasht on 13 October 2009 for protesting the regime's plans to force Islamic education on all children in violation of the constitution, has reportedly been sentenced to death. Furthermore, on 8 June 2010, Pastor Yousef's wife, Fatemeh (Tina) Passandideh, was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. The authorities have threatened to remove the couple's two children, Yoel and Daniel, to an Islamic institution.

On 18 July 2010, a group of 15 new believers travelling together by bus to the provincial town of Bojnoord were ambushed by informed security forces and arrested in the city of Mashhad. After one week of harsh interrogations, believers who signed 'confessions' were freed on conditions including that bail payment would be forthcoming. Mr Reza (48, also known as Stephen) and Mr Ehsan Behrooz (23) refused to cooperate. They have been incarcerated in the 901st branch of the Revolutionary court in Mashhad.
See:
IRAN- The Mass Arrest of New Christian Converts in Mashhad
Farsi Christian News Network, 2 Aug 2010

For prayer bulletin and preayer suggestion see:
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin 067 (5 Aug 2010).