Iran detains another Christian convert in unknown location

Iranian security agents have reportedly detained another Christian convert in an unknown location on Oct. 10 as the government continues its crackdown on former Muslims who embrace the Christian faith or are involved in house church movements.

(REUTERS / Morteza Nikoubazl)An Iranian flag flutters in front of the head office of the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) in Tehran November 9, 2008.

In an interview with Radio Farda, Iranian Christian rights advocate group Open Doors USA confirmed Mohammad Ali Torabi's detention on Tuesday. Article 18 spokesman Kiarash Alipour added that the detainee's family was not aware of his location as of this writing.

"Security agents detained Mohammad Ali Torabi at his office in 'Qal'a Sayyed' district of Dezful, on Tuesday, October 10 and took him to an unknown location," Alipour told Radio Farda. "His family has no information on his whereabouts, so far."

In addition, Mohabbat News said two other former Muslims who embraced Christianity and a leader of the Serenity Message Church were arrested together with Torabi. However, the three were released after some questioning.

In the last few months, Iran has arrested several Christian converts and often charged them for being a threat to national security through their involvement in house churches and Christian ceremonies. However, Mansour Borji of Article 18 said the accusations against the believers were "illusory."

In June, Iranian actress Aideen Strandsson revealed to the Christian Broadcasting Network that she had switched to the Christian faith secretly while she was still in her home country. She then left for Sweden three years ago and announced her new religion.

Unfortunately, Sweden denied Strandsson asylum twice. Although sending the actress back to Iran could spell death for her, the Swedish government did not believe that she was in danger.

Strandsson explained that the Sharia law prohibits converting to another religion, and this act is punishable with death. She said her lawyers will continue to fight for her asylum application and added that she will put her hope in Jesus Christ as she does not know what the future holds for her.