Converts from Islam to Christianity bear the brunt of Christian persecution, especially by the government and, to a lesser extent, by their families and society. The government sees them as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran.
Many Christians (especially converts) have been prosecuted and sentenced to long terms in jail. Others are still awaiting trial. During this time, their families face public humiliation.
19-year-old Christian girl in the Islamic Republic is not left out in the harsh treatment and persecution ongoing in the nation. In fact, many consider her as the future/hope of the Iranian Church because of her boldness in declaring Jesus and speaking out against the persecution of Christians.
Fatemeh Mohammadi is only 19 years old but has already spent six months of those years in prison. Her crime? Being a member of a house church in Tehran. She’s also the future of one of the world’s fastest-growing global churches.
In addition to being a faithful witness, Fatemeh is also a rare activist for Christians. She boldly speaks out about believers’ rights, including the bad treatment she received in prison.
She writes on a variety of social issues and has also run a campaign petitioning for all Christians, including converts, to be given the right to worship in a church.
Earlier this year, Fatemeh wrote an open letter to Iran’s Minister of Intelligence, accusing him of violating the constitution by targeting Christians. In her letter, she accused him of violating Article 23 of the constitution, which states that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”
Fatemeh also questioned why Christians are prevented from “talking about their beliefs with their peers,” while Muslims can freely engage in “propaganda” at schools, universities, mosques and shrines.
Last week, she was arrested because she filed a complaint against a woman who assaulted her for not wearing her headscarf the right way. Her assailant was released, but Fatemeh once again found herself behind bars. She spent a night in prison and the next day was released with a warning.
Because she is so bold in her witness and in her efforts to stand up for Christians, particularly for converts like her, this recent arrest will most likely not be Fatemeh’s last day in prison.
Fatemeh Mohammadi, who served six months in the notorious Evin Prison for her faith, described how she was treated in a letter to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
Mohammadi, who was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran earlier this year on charges of “membership in evangelical groups,” “engaging in Christian activities,” and “acting against national security through propagating against the regime,” says that she was repeatedly asked about sexual relations by officials.
She replied to them, “I have never been involved in any relationship; you are slandering me. What you are doing is not right or moral.”
The young woman says that officials insisted they have evidence to prove their charges of sexual relations, but did not present any.
“No matter how much I insisted that I have never had a sexual relationship, they would not accept it,” she said.
She was moved in and out of solitary confinement while multiple interrogators mocked her and continued questioning her about perceived immorality.
“I was feeling very sick during that session, and felt an excruciating pain in my chest; I could barely breathe and started to cough incessantly,” Mohammadi shared.
“They attempted to force me to [falsely] confess to illicit sexual relations with men. At times, they pursued a line of questioning that would lead them to that conclusion. Their entire objective was to make this accusation stick and force me to make up a story about sexual relations for them to read and enjoy,” she added.
“I could not imagine any other motivation for their actions, because sexual relations had nothing to do with my case.”
Recalling her later experience in prison, Mohammadi said that she launched a dry hunger strike in order to be allowed to have a copy of the Bible, but despite her weakening condition, her request was rejected.
Although the Iranian government insists that it offers religious freedom, persecution watchdog groups and human rights agencies have said the Islamic regime is very hostile toward minorities, including Christians, Baha’is, and others.
Iran ranks 9th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.