Christianity Today: Iran’s Persecution Backfires

A very interesting development in the Middle East. Trevor Persaud of Christianity Today reports:

Analysts say [that] Islam is losing credibility after 30 years of theocracy. Resentment against the reigning regime is spreading and deepening—especially since the disputed 2009 national elections.

“Before the [1979] revolution, the clerics were promising that once Iran becomes an Islamic state, it would be utopia, it would be brotherhood, and everything would be fine,” Dibaj said. But since then, Iranians “have seen nothing but war and fighting and international isolation and hatred, [and] they are thirsting for change.”

“The Iranian public basically doesn’t trust the government anymore,” Ghaffari said, “and they don’t trust the Muslim clergy anymore, because they have seen a lot of double standards and hypocrisy.”

Converts in smaller communities still risk persecution from their own families, but tolerance is growing in urban areas and among the younger generation. “In fact,” said Dibaj, “in places like Tehran and more educated communities, if you say, ‘I have become a Christian,’ they will respect you because of your courage and your independent thinking.”

If anything, government persecution has made Christianity much more attractive, said Yegh-nazar. “When government officials are on television telling people not to read the Scriptures, that generates more interest in the Scriptures.”

You can read the whole report here: Public Enemy: Iran’s Persecution Backfires (Christianity Today, June 1, 2011).