The predominantly Islam country of Iran has arrested and convicted one of its nationals for allegedly handing out copies of the Bible to friends and family, according to the Vatican missionary news agency Fides on Wednesday. His behaviour was considered a threat to national security. He was slapped with a 10-year jail time.
Arrested in December 2012 in Iran, Mohammad-Hadi Bordhar said he wanted to "evangelise by handing out 12,000 pocket bibles." At the time of his arrest during a Christian service at his home, Iranian police allegedly impounded films, books, CDs and other Christian material including over 6,000 copies of the New Testament.
He was arrested based on "crimes against state security."
Protestant church in Tehran (Qods Street, across Tehran University, 140 m away from Ali Khamenei residence), taken 2011)
Iran is home to the largest Jewish community in Muslim World, where 90 per cent of the population associate themselves with the Shi'a branch of Islam, considered the official state religion. The rest belong to the Sunni branch.
Only 2 per cent are non Muslims and they include the Bahai's, Mandeans, Hindus, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians. The latter three, only belonging to the minority religions, they are officially recognized and protected. The Iran parliament likewise afforded them reserved seats.
Mr Bordhar had previously been arrested in 2009 after being found guilty of converting to Christianity and attending a house church. The Rasht court slapped him with a conviction of guilty of "apostasy.'' He was released but only after posting bail of 200 million Rials.
The Catholic news agency Fides reported the young Iranians' interest in Christianity is worrying the state authorities. Christian churches have been shut down.
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