Islam & Christianity in Iran: Celebrating Christmas

Iranians shop for Christmas decorations in Tehran. (Photo via CNN.com)

CNN offered a feature this week on Christmas in Iran, a country that is 98 percent Muslim and looking to “cut ties with the United States and the West.”

The story highlights how Iranian Muslims embraced the Christian holiday, as they sought, according to Meshkat, a 29-year-old engineer, “any excuse to celebrate and create happy moments and go against the government’s repressive orders.”

Read the full story here.

While Iran is home to approximately 200,000 Christians, 90 percent of whom are Armenian, the country does still stifle and restrict the spread of religions other than Islam. Even still, Touraj Daryaee, a Persian Iranologist and historian at the University of California-Irvine, thinks “many young Iranians are secretly converting to Christianity in recent years as a way to distance themselves from the regime’s harsh Islamic practices.”

Daryaee said, “Christianity seems to be a peaceful religion with a message of love and peace. That is so different from what they have experienced as militant Islam right now, so it is effective.”

Pray for the Christians in Iran, for their safety and their witness. Also, continue to pray for the release of Saeed Abedini, a Christian imprisoned for his faith in Iran.

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