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Barnabas Update – March 4th 2020

Forcing Christian converts to declare their faith

Barnabas Fund, 24 February 2020

Christian converts from Islam no longer have the choice of keeping their faith secret in Iran after the “other religions” option was removed from the application form for ID cards.

The choices available to new applicants are only the four religions recognised under the Iranian constitution: Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism.

The new rule reflects the strategy of harassing Christian converts from Islam and pressurising them to emigrate – Muslim-born converts to Christianity now have to reveal they are Christian or lie about their faith.

The ID cards, which are compulsory for every citizen aged 15 and above, are a necessary part of daily life in Iran and are required to access basic government services or to make bank transactions. The holder’s religion is then easily accessed by the state’s computer network.

Converts are frequently arrested and then released to drive them to leave the country, meaning that many leaders of convert groups have little Biblical education.”

The removal of the “other religions” option marginalises other religious groups including Bahais and Hindus.