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"Wrong Cults" (فرقه ضاله in Farsi)

Reader comment on item: Iran's Christian Boom

Submitted by Robert (United States), Jun 24, 2021 at 16:57

This Monday three Iranian Christians men have been tried in Karaj (Northern Iran, having been charged with alleged "Sectarian" activities. This follows a new amendment to the Penal Code of Iran passed by Iran's parliament (Majlis) recently. This is being reported by the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The defendants in the case are prior Muslims, namely Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi and Alireza Nourmohammadi. The preciding judge was Mehdi Zeilani. The charged against was "engaging in propaganda against the Islamic regime." They were released on bail and ordered to report weekly to the police. The charges against them derive from the new Penal Code amendment known as Article 500-bis which concerns "sectarian activities." This amendment was executed as recently as February 2021 by outgoing President Hassan Rouhani.

A quote and translation of the relevant part of the statute says: "any deviant education or propaganda that contradicts or interferes with the sacred Sharia will be severely punished." Previous to this invocation of this law today, converts to Christianity residing in Iran had been charged with "action against state security" which derives from French law which Iranian judges cited against converts to Christianity.

Current Islamist Iranian authorities accuse deviants, or what we call heretics, of being "Wrong Cults" (فرقه ضاله in Farsi). This notion is invoked by the religious and judicial authorities to discredit and criminalize sects that allegedly violate the tenets of the Twelver Shi'ism which is the official dogma and jurisprudence of Iran. Apparently this term has been extended to encompass not only reform and evangelical movements, but conversion from Islam to Christianity as well.

Under this new criminal code, the penalties which can be imposed include imprisonment for a period of 2 to 5 years, deprivation of voting rights for 15 years, and heavy fines.

Submitting....

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