The Hill: Imagine the morning after Christmas, security officials surround your parents’ home and force their way inside by destroying the front door. They search everyone and seize your pictures, hard drive and even steal the cash out of your wallet.
The Hill – Letters
By Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)
Imagine the morning after Christmas, security officials surround your parents’ home and force their way inside by destroying the front door.
They wake you up, search everyone and seize your pictures, hard drive and even steal the cash out of your wallet. Later you are beaten, handcuffed and imprisoned in solitary confinement for 15 months before being handed a six-year sentence.
This is what Iranian pastor Farshid Fathi faced on Dec. 26, 2010. He was given a “system of justice” that was anything but just. His accusation? Reportedly being a Christian, having Bibles printed in Farsi and running a network of house churches in Tehran.
The Iranians have labeled Fathi’s belief in Jesus and desire to share his faith “political offenses,” equivalent to “actions against national security.” Yet, Fathi is not alone in suffering persecution under the government of Iran for religious beliefs.
During the past year, religious minorities living in Iran have experienced a major intensification of physical attacks, harassment, detention, arrests and imprisonment.
Since June 2010, more than 300 Christians have been arrested and detained in Iran. As of this past Christmas, at least a dozen Christians remain in prison.
This deliberate, intentional targeting of religious minorities in Iran should deeply concern every American and the entire international community. Iran’s appalling violations of individual liberty have no place in today’s world.
Fathi is one of many prisoners of conscience who need our prayers and advocacy, and I hope our State Department will not ignore the plight of these oppressed.