Tehran University has expelled a young Christian woman activist without explanation. Fatemeh Mohammadi, a Christian convert who also goes by the name Mary, announced her expulsion on Twitter last month, International Christian Concern reports.
Mohammadi, a former prisoner, was arrested by NAJA (Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran) on July 9, 2019. She was arrested after a woman, Mousavi, harassed her because of her dress code and injured Mohammadi’s face. Mohammadi went to a police station to file a complaint against that woman but she was arrested instead.
The attacker claimed that she is “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” which Iranian authorities considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts.
A witness reported that Mohammadi was sitting in the bus when a Chador-wearing woman, Mousavi, insulted her and advised her to wear her headscarf properly. Mousavi attacked Mohammadi, pushed her chest with her hand, and beat her face until her nails were covered in blood.
The bus driver stopped the bus and they went to the police station branch 119. She filed a complaint against Mousavi, but police let her go and arrested Mohammadi. She was released on bail on July 10.
Mohammadi, a Christian convert and former prisoner was also arrested on November 18, 2017. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison.
On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at the time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months’ imprisonment on charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward after completing her sentence.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, Fatemeh has since been having challenges gaining a student ID card at the beginning of the term. This made her ineligible to sit for classes.
This expulsion makes her ineligibility official. Iran has a long history of preventing individuals belonging to religious minorities from completing a university education.
In Iran, it’s illegal to convert from Islam and illegal to share your faith. Consequently, church services in Farsi (Iran’s national language) are not allowed. Converts from Islam face persecution from the government, and house church participants risk the constant threat of arrest.
Fatemeh and Christians like her in Iran live in a society governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted. As an Islamic Republic, Iran seeks to control the consciences of individuals and uses harsh methods to prevent religious freedom.
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 2020 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.