According to World Watch Monitor, on November 12, an Iranian who had converted to Christianity, lost his appeal of a ten-year prison sentence for sharing his faith.
In May, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, along with three men from Azerbaijan were sentenced to ten years for missionary activity along with trumped-up charges of “actions against national security.”
The secret police arrested the four men when they attended a wedding in June 2016.
Shortly after their arrest, the Iranians allowed the three Azerbaijans to leave Iran while on bail and then sentenced them in abstention. It is doubtful they will return to complete their sentence. But unfortunately, Naser must fulfill his sentence in the brutal Iranian prison system renown for its torture.
Since early spring, human rights groups have noticed Iranian courts are handing out unusually long sentences to Christians for simply sharing their faith.
Yet despite Iran’s crackdown on Christianity, or maybe because of it, reports are coming in about the large numbers of Muslims abandoning Islam and embracing Christianity in Iran and other Islamic countries.
Even Roman Catholics are noticing the influx. In an interview with the ETWN radio and TV, Father Mitch Pacwa said he first noticed the growing interest in Christianity among Muslims in 2005, when he heard warnings on a Muslim TV broadcast of the large numbers of Muslims converting to Christianity in Islamic countries.
Al Jazeera Television reported there were six to eight million Muslims in Sub Saharan Africa converting to Christianity each year. Pacwa, who is fluent in Arabic and considered an expert on Islam, added that he has heard similar media reports every year since then.
According to Pacwa, many of the conversions are taking place in hard-line Islamic countries where conversion can result in severe physical punishment such as cutting off hands and feet, imprisonment and in some instances even death.
He reported about a slave boy being crucified after he secretly attended a church service and two Filipino servant women being beheaded after being caught with a New Testament.
Yet despite this abuse, Christianity continues to grow in hard-line Islamic countries such as Iran and Indonesia. Similar to what Evangelical groups are reporting, Pacwa added that many Muslims are converting because of dreams.
Pacwa added that another reason Muslims are converting is that many are sickened by the violent behavior of Muslim extremists who are also turning on fellow Muslims who don’t hold the same views. A few days ago, upwards of 30 Islamic extremists armed with heavy machine guns attacked a Mosque in Egypt killing 305 people. They arrived in five SUVs and set themselves up in front of the Mosque and opened fire. After the initial burst several men stormed the mosque and continued the massacre.
He also mentioned the work of a Coptic Orthodox Priest Peter Butros Zakariam who was kicked out of Egypt because of Evangelism.
Since then, he has continued to broadcast TV programs into Egypt from outside the country. Because Muslims have put a $60 million bounty on his head, Zakariam has to continually move around as he broad casts to avoid capture.
It is Zakariam’s familiarity with the Qur’an that has made him such an effective witness for Christ among Muslims. Pacwa said “He is brilliant in his knowledge of the Quran and he is fearless.”
Not surprisingly, a lack of fear will be one of the hallmarks of end times Christians.
11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Revelation 12: 11 NASV)
- Muslims Are Converting to Christianity in Record Numbers: National Catholic Register
- Iran sentences four more Christians to 10 years in jail for ‘missionary activities’: World Watch Monitor