Four Christian in Iran were sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for communion, an intolerable punishment carried out even despite a new United Nations report that lambasted the Islamic republic for its systematic persecution of non-Muslims.
The four men were sentenced on October 6 after being arrested in a house church last December, and subsequently charged with consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption is a violation of the Islamist theocracy’s draconian Muslim law. They four men are among many Christians punished for their faith in a nation where converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death.
According to a new October UN report by Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, this “war on Christianity” and persecution is frequent, despite new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani promising to be a so-called “moderate.”
People’s Pundit Daily previously reported on Senator Rand Paul speaking about the “war on Christianity” at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, from which Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah derives “hate speech” from. We named him the “Daily Dunce” for minimizing what he called “a few isolated” incidents, despite widespread evidence, such as the new report conducted by Dr. Shaheed, which was released by the UN.
“At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013,” Shaheed wrote in the report. “In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.”
Iran’s regime has made stopping the spread of Christianity a top priority, along with Iran stridently cracking down on religious freedom. There are estimated to be up to 370,000 Christians in Iran, according to the most recent published U.S. State Department report. The Muslim clerics, who are inherent rulers in Iran, view Christianity as a threat to Iran’s majority Shiite Islamic religion.
“Despite the recent Iranian charm offensive, Dr. Shaheed’s report reminds us of the true nature of the Iranian regime where the abuse of human rights continue,” Illinois Senator Mark Kirk (R), who is chairman and founder of the Iran Dissident Awareness Program, said earlier. “Political prisoners like blogger Mohammad Reza Pourshajari are being denied adequate medical care, journalists and their families continue to be targets of the regime, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati are still languishing in prison and the Baha’i community faces increasing persecution. This is the true nature of the regime we’re dealing with during negotiations in Geneva.”
Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the UN, has yet to respond to our requests for comment, and other news organizations have reported a similar lack of cooperation.
Iran’s government criticized Shaheed’s report, claiming that the Doctor was not an objective observer. Iran’s state-run propagandist news — Press TV — an Iranian official from the UN mission said that Shaheed “has not paid sufficient notice to Iran’s legal system and Islamic culture and considers whatever he sees in the West as an international standard for the entire world.”
Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, for the record, is considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on human rights, and quite objective. Shaheed served as the minister of foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives.
It is unclear whether or not the Obama administration will consider this treatment of Christians to be unacceptable with continued negotiations, but some in the president’s party are not at all complacent in this war on Christians. “It should be no surprise that Iran’s human rights record as documented by the UN is nothing short of atrocious,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, who is a Democrat from New York and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “If the regime thinks that its international charm offensive will help whitewash its appalling human rights record as documented by the UN report, they are sorely mistaken,” Engel added.
The UN reported stated that Iran’s “Authorities continue to compel licensed Protestant churches to restrict Persian-speaking and Muslim-born Iranians from participating in services, and raids and forced closures of house churches are ongoing…More than 300 Christians have been arrested since 2010, and dozens of church leaders and active community members have reportedly been convicted of national security crimes in connection with church activities, such as organizing prayer groups, proselytizing and attending Christian seminars abroad. “
Just this Monday, a retired pastor from California, Eddie Romero, actually took the risk to sneak into Iran in order to demand the regime release imprisoned Christians in Iran. Pastor Romero bravely chose to protest in front of Iran’s notoriously cruel Evin prison, shouting “Let my people go.” Prison guards captured and held Romero before he was sent back to the United States.
Romero aimed to being attention to Christian in Iran who are imprisoned and persecuted for their beliefs, including Farshid Fathi, the American-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar and Alireza Seyyedian.
The four Christians in Iran who were sentenced to 80 lashes now — for whatever reason — have 10 days to appeal their verdict.
Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, correctly noted, “The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalize the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably.”
UPDATE: In response to the news, Mr. Daily Dunce — Comedian Central Palestinian “comedian” Dean Obeidallah — showed his tolerant Muslim colors via Twitter:
— Dean Obeidallah (@Deanofcomedy) October 25, 2013
Is that supposed to be funny to the Comedy Central comedian? Is that the tolerance according to Islam and the Left?