By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iranian authorities refuse to allow a young man to start his own company because he converted to Christianity and was previously detained on charges of “apostasy”, or ‘abandoning Islam’, Iranian Christians said Saturday, July 14.
The Iranian Christian, who was not identified, had reportedly been trying to obtain a business license for “a technical company” in northern Iran.
However he did not receive the required clean criminal background report from Iranian police because he was jailed two and half years ago on charges of converting to Christianity and attending house church services, said Mohabat News, a news agency of Iranian Christians and activists.
It came as a setback for the man, who was reportedly released on bail, and had hoped to restart his life with his company.
“After he submitted his application, completed all the paper work and was fingerprinted”, police sent a letter to the Revolutionary and Public Court of his northern city claiming he had “a criminal record” and was an “apostate”, Mohabat News reported.
“The subject person is accused of apostasy and has a criminal record accordingly!”, the May 26, 2012, letter reportedly said.
Iranian Christians said the move is part if a wider government crackdown on non-Islamic minority groups, especially Christian converts, in society.
At least dozens of Christians are known to have been detained in the country.
Outside prison, government offices are reportedly ordered not to employ Christians and Christians have been deprived from high school or university education, or running their own schools, according to Iranians with close knowledge about the situation.
“There are no schools for Farsi-speaking Christian children and because they must attend regular schools, they are forced to read the Koran,” Mohabat News said.
Additionally, Christian converts have been forced to travel abroad to marry as churches are not allowed to hold Christian wedding ceremonies, the agency added.
Iran’s leadership has also banned Bible printing or distribution in the country or the publication of a Christian newspaper.
Despite the setbacks, an increasing number of Iranians convert to Christianity, according to mission groups, who estimate there may be as many as 100,000 devoted Christians in the Islamic nation.
Iranian officials have consistently defended their policies saying they are defending Islamic values.