Islam, Persecution, z437
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Judge rules that it is not illegal to attend a house Church in Iran

Credit: Sajad Nori/

Morning Star News is reporting a surprise turn of events in Iran, when a judge overturned the conviction of Homayoun Zhaveh, 64, and his wife, Sara Ahmadi, 45, who had been found guilty of attending a home church in 2020.

Despite persecution, Iran has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world

In 2019, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, warned Muslim clerics at a gathering of Islamic leaders about the growth of Christianity in their country, Iranwire reported.

He told the group that Muslims are converting to Christianity because they wanted peace and were tired of the violence being propagated by Islamic clerics.

In an effort to hinder Christianity’s growth, the country’s intelligence agencies claimed that participation in house churches was a political threat to the country’s security.

However, in overturning the conviction of the two Iranian Christians, the Appeals Court judge ruled that it was not illegal to attend a house church in Iran. He even suggested that it was ‘natural’ for people with a common faith to gather together.

“The reports by the officers of the Ministry of Intelligence about organization of home-groups to promote Christianity, membership, and participation in home-groups, are not considered as acts against the country’s security, and the law has not recognized them as criminal activity,” the judge said.

A 2021 Supreme Court ruling also concluded that an Iranian could not be charged with violating the country’s national security simply because they attended a house church.

But politics has always been a card played by those opposed to Christianity. The Jewish priests used a similar tactic by telling the Roman authorities Jesus was a political threat because He claimed to be the King of the Jews (Luke 23:2).

But this case also reveals another interesting feature about Iran’s highly successful house church movement.

According to a 2019 documentary, 55% of the house church leaders in Iran are actually women with many playing key senior leadership roles.

And we see evidence of this in the sentencing of Zhaveh and Ahmadi as it was the wife, Ahmadi, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2020 for “founding or leading an organization that aims to disrupt national security” and “membership in organizations that aim to disrupt national security.”

Meanwhile, her husband, Zhaveh, was sentenced to two years for participating in a house church.

Both Ahmadi and Zhaveh were released after the judge’s ruling.

READ: Iran: Judge frees Christian couple from prison, rules house church gatherings not illegal AND Sheep among Wolves’: Documentary looks at fast-growing Christian movement in Iran, led by women: Christian Post AND Fastest growing church has no building, no central leadership, and is mostly led by women: God Reports

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