NEWS ALERT: Christian Convert Missing In Iran

 

By Marshall Ramsey II, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian with a Muslim background, Fariborz Arazm, remained missing in Iran Saturday, October 29, nearly two weeks after his detention by plain clothes security officers, Iranian Christians said.

Mohabat News, an independent Iranian Christian news agency of activists and local Christians, said four officers engaged in "a commando-style raid" on the house of Arazm on October 17, transferring him to an unknown location.

The raid in the city of Robat-Karim, 27 kilometers (17 miles) southwest of the Iranian capital of Tehran, reportedly took place around 7:30 am local time, just before he left for work.

Officers allegedly searched the house, confiscated Arazm's Bibles as well as computer hard disk, Compact Disks and pictures, leaving a chaos behind them, Iranian Christians said.

The 44-year-old Arazm, a father of two children, has not been able to contact nor visit his family since the arrest, Christians said.

FAMILY "WARNED"

His family was reportedly warned to not to talk about the incident.  "Due to the nature of the situation, Mr. Arazm's family has suffered stress and anxiety, and are also concerned for his health," Mohabat News said.
While no more details were immediately available, Iranian Christians say thety believe he is held because of his Christian faith.

In recent days another Christian, only identified as "Mohammad", was reportedly also detained in the city of Shahriar, south-west of Tehran, on charges that local Christians have linked to his conversion to Christianity.

The Christian, who is reportedly studying Christianity, was reportedly interrogated about his Christian faith and "threatened" before being released several hours later.

"This incident took place even though Article 23 of the constitution states that, "Inquisition is prohibited and no one should be harassed or interrogated because of his/her belief," Mohabat News commented.

Another Article, 32 of the constitution, states that, "no one should be arrested, unless the legal warrant has been issued for the person," the agency added.

UN CONCERNS

Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nation's special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, said this month that religious minorities inside Iran face "serious restrictions" regarding their rights and religious practices.

The latest detentions follow mounting international pressure on Iran to release Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who faces the death penalty for refusing to abandon his faith in Christ and return to Islam, according to written court documents seen by BosNewsLife.

Some Iranian officials have recently denied he may be executed as a ruling is still awaited from the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was appointed supreme leader for life in 1989 by Shiite Muslim clerics.

Rights groups and local Christians have linked the crackdown on Christian concerts to concerns among Iranian officials about the spread of Christianity in the strict Islamic nation. (With additional reporting by BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos)

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