Report from Iran: Christianity proliferating, Islam diminishing

Thursday, September 10, 2020
Michael F. Haverluck (

Pro-democracy rallyThe number of Christians in the Islamic Republic of Iran has reportedly grown to nearly one million, despite that country being the world's top sponsor of terror and a leading recruiter and financier for jihad.

Not only is it illegal to convert to Christianity in Iran – or to preach it – the World Watch List also ranks the Middle Eastern country at #9 in its list of the 50 most dangerous nations to be a Christian. Regardless, it appears nothing there can stop the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fearless in Jesus

Despite the government crackdown on Christianity in Iran, the house church movement continues to flourish.

"Oftentimes, Christian pastors will be arrested and given long prison sentences for 'crimes against the national security,'" reports. "If you open up your doors to a house church in Iran, then your home could be frequently raided and monitored; and if you do happen to go to prison, the prison situation there is appalling."

Yet Christianity in the hotbed of Islamic terrorism is quickly approaching the seven-digit mark.

"[The number of Christians in Iran is] without doubt in the order of magnitude of several hundreds of thousands and growing beyond a million," the Netherlands-based GAMAAN research group reports from its recent survey.

And while Christianity is spreading in Iran, Islam is shrinking.

"The real news is not the number of Christians," explains Johannes de Jong, the director of the think tank, Sallux (Latin for "Salt-Light") which is associated with the European Christian Political Movement. "It is the massive secularization of Iranian society as a whole."

According to the group's survey, less than a third of Iranians surveyed (32%) identified as Shiite Muslim, while the Iranian government officially touts that 95% of its population practices that form of Islam.

"The Islam in Iran is a political system – not a faith embraced by any majority," adds de Jong, who has served Iranian asylum seekers and opposition politicians for two decades. "A free Iran would see an implosion of Islam – and a very significant rise of Christianity, Zoroastrism and atheism."

Compounding the problems faced by political leaders of the Islamic Republic, a falling away from the Muslim faith was reported from the survey.

"Nearly half (47%) said they used to be religious, but are no longer, [and] only 6 in 10 Iranians surveyed said they were born into a religious family," Christianity Today reveals from the GAMAAN's findings.

That same proportion admits they do not say their daily prayers – and roughly 7 in 10 don't want legislation based on religion, state-funded religious institutions, or mandatory head covering. In fact, GAMAAN reports a clear majority (58%) don't believe in wearing the hijab at all.


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