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Iran: Christians celebrate Easter in secret amid risks

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Iran: Christians celebrate Easter in secret amid risks

In Iran, where religious freedoms are heavily restricted, Christians are facing increased risks as they celebrate Easter in secret. The government strictly prohibits conversion from Islam, leaving Christian Iranians vulnerable to arrest and imprisonment.Iran: Christians celebrate Easter in secret amid risks

Tina, not her real name, is among those who converted to Christianity with her husband years ago. They practice their faith clandestinely, fearing repercussions from authorities. Tina explains that they organize small gatherings in different locations, such as homes or parks, to minimize the risk of detection.

However, the threat of arrest looms large. Mehdi, another Christian in Iran, shares his harrowing experience of being arrested twice. During his second arrest, he endured over a month of solitary confinement and intense interrogation. Despite his release, Mehdi faced constant surveillance and the stigma of being labelled a political dissident.

The situation for Christians in Iran has grown increasingly dire, with arrests on the rise. Last year alone, at least 166 people were detained for their Christian beliefs, according to the non-profit organization Article 18. Moreover, the severity of punishments has escalated, with longer prison sentences becoming commonplace.

Mansour Borji, founder and director of Article 18, explains that the Iranian government’s crackdown on dissent extends to religious minorities. He notes a significant increase in conversions among Iranians, particularly to Christianity, as individuals seek autonomy in their beliefs.

Despite the risks, Tina remains resolute in her faith. As Easter approaches, she and fellow Christians cautiously plan their celebrations, knowing that the government may target them during this time. They refuse to abandon their religious practices, even as they navigate the precarious landscape of religious persecution in Iran.

Despite risks, many Iranians embrace Christianity, seeking freedom of belief. Tina and others adapt Easter celebrations to evade detection, affirming their faith amid adversity.

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