‘Hijab enforcers’ and further arrests in Iran

Publication Date: 15/8/2023

Source: Open Doors

There is a fresh and aggressive crackdown on Christians in Iran, with increasing arrests and 'hijab enforcers'.

There are further crackdowns on civil liberties in Iran as the anniversary of protests and unrests draws closer.

The number of Christians being arrested in Iran continues to rise. Most are being released, but are also being forced to sign commitments to refrain from further Christian activities. Some have even been ordered to leave the country, while one believer was fired from his job because of his faith. Please keep praying for all the Christians who have been arrested, and for their families. In recent months, there have been several instances of released prisoners being re-arrested on vague charges.

‘Hijab enforcers’
More broadly, women are being targeted if they are not wearing the hijab. The Iranian government are putting renewed effort into reinforcing this mandatory head covering for women, and have hired 400 veiled women as ‘hijab enforcers’ to prevent unveiled women from entering the subway. If the women resist, they are handed over to police. This is understandably very intimidating. Women have few rights within Iranian law, and are particularly vulnerable if they have converted from Islam to Christianity. Many feel torn about whether or not to wear the hijab after choosing to follow Jesus – and, if they choose not to, it is a very public declaration of their new faith that can make them targets for persecution.

This new wave of social policing isn’t really a surprise with the month of September approaching. September 2022 marked the beginning of nationwide protests which rocked Iran after Mahsa Amini died while she was in custody for ‘improper’ wearing of Islamic head covering.

Christians and members of other religious minorities, such as the Baha’is, are particularly being targeted in this wave of crackdowns. Iran is number eight on the World Watch List, and this surge of persecution is discouraging to the nation’s believers.

Link: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/news/latest-news/iran-crackdown-arrests/

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