Friday, July 13, 2012
Forced Closure of Church Property near Tehran
Continued repression of Christian churches in the Islamic Republic
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
TEHRAN (ANS) -- Reports from Tehran confirm the simultaneous May 2012 closure of both the Central Assembly of God Church in Tehran (Congregational) Church in Jennat-Abad, Tehran, and its summer campsite “Garden of Sharon.”
According to the Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), officers of the Revolutionary Guards Corp have locked the gates and posted warning notices forbidding entrance. They warn of serious consequences for ignoring the order.
FCNN said until eight years ago, when it was raided by State Security agents of the Islamic Republic, the Garden of Sharon had been a popular and well attended site. It had hosted summer camps, Bible schools, Christian gatherings and conferences.
However, that has all changed, FCNN reported. Since then such gatherings have been very tightly overseen, with no more than 40 people allowed to attend in a given week.
But since the handover of security responsibilities to the Revolutionary Guards Corp in recent months, this oversight has become even stricter, FCNN reported.
According to FCNN, the Revolutionary Guards Corps is only accountable to the Islamic Regime’s Supreme Leader, acting on his authority alone. There is no one above this group to whom churches can appeal.
Those measures include the forced closure of Friday Persian language services, cancellation of Bible teaching classes and the prohibition of the sale and distribution of The Bible and all other Christian literature.
They also ordered the full disclosure of National ID numbers of visitors and/or worshipers, causing some to stop attending Church services and increasing the already fever pitch fears of persecution amongst the Christian community.
FCNN said children and young adult classes were forced to stop operating and Sunday school in Iran Assembly of God Churches was closed down.
FCNN commented, “Islamic security organizations are particularly ruthless in their handling of Bible classes.”
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