Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Andranik Teymourian

Football fans around the world have been surprised to see Iranian international footballer (now playing with Bolton Wanderers) Andranik Teymourian routinely crossing himself as he leaves the field of play.

The only non-Moslem player in the Iran national team, Teymourian is from the country's small Armenian minority who are historically Orthodox Christians.

Iranian Christians have historically been members of this ethnic-religious minority or of ethnic Greek ancestry. In recent years, increasing numbers of Iranians have become born-again Christians. Many are asylum seekers living in Western Europe and are from a Moslem background. A previous post illustrates this trend.

The existing ethnic-Christian minorities are tolerated in Iran. Conversion from Islam, however, is a criminal offense punishable by long prison sentences or death. Issa Motamedi Mojdehi (pictured) is one such convert, currently awaiting charges related to his conversion 7 years ago. Despite imprisonment and death threats to his family, he remains committed to his Christian faith.


GW said...
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Anonymous said...

"or of ethnic Greek ancestry"

This is absolute nonsense.

Don't make things up.

Anonymous said...

Christians have no problems in Iran.

Perhaps they might with the government, but Christians are proud to be Iranian, proud to share 8000 years of culture and history just like the rest of Iranians, no Iranian asks “are you a Muslim or a Christian”, no one in Iran cares, religion simply isn’t a big deal in Iran, quit propagating media propaganda against Iran.

Al Shaw said...

Hello anonymous.

I agree that it is the Iranian government who are the prime movers in persecuting Christian converts from Islam, rather than the ordinary citizens.

Wilson Issavi is just one Christian who has been imprisoned and tortured this year, accused of "converting Muslims."

Thanks for commenting.