Germany Ominously Cold to Christian Convert
Germany is a leading power of the European Union (EU), which ascribes to values that welcome refugees fleeing persecution in their native countries. But one Iranian Christian facing possible imprisonment or death if returned to Tehran just received a cold shoulder from German and EU authorities — a potentially ominous development for other brothers and sisters in Christ in similar circumstances.
“Hassan” (a protective alias according to Alliance Defending Freedom International) converted to Christianity in Iran thanks to the faithful witness of his wife’s brother. Even though this brother was incarcerated and eventually killed for his faith, Hassan saw that he “had become a different person by becoming a Christian.”
“One day my brother-in-law said to me and my wife that he had good news,” Hassan recounted in later legal proceedings. “There is a treasure, there is a living God, Jesus Christ, we are His children and not His slaves… He said there is a free salvation available.”
Hassan and his family accepted Christ and fled from Iranian security forces to Turkey and then to Germany.
“In Germany I share the gospel, I organize prayer circles here in the accommodation,” Hassan said. “I want to be a good example, to win the others to faith in Jesus Christ. My greatest goal would be for my children to be able to find Christ in freedom, and to do good.”
But German authorities doubt the veracity of the 44-year-old refugee’s faith. In fact, one court brazenly assumed it was “not particularly likely” that a Muslim like Hassan would really choose Christianity after seeing his brother-in-law killed. And EU officials at the European Court of Human Rights were no help either after they quickly dismissed Hassan’s appeal this month and left him under the sword of deportation.
Not only is this ruling heartbreaking for Hassan and his loved ones, it is also concerning for thousands of other Christian converts from Islam seeking protection in Europe. The EU contends its member states are duty-bound to treat asylum seekers with dignity and fairness, but ADF International’s release called out the “tragic disregard for the application of a uniform and objective standard of examination for these kinds of dire asylum cases, in violation of international law.”
In another recent press conference, German pastor Gottfried Martens also decried indifference among state officials to Iranian Christians facing deportation and the “pure game of chance” as to whether they will get a sympathetic judge in asylum proceedings.
“In many cases these administrative judges presume to be experts in matters of faith in such a way that one is simply stunned,” said Martens. “They would sometimes openly say that they knew better about the seriousness of a conversion than a pastor.”
Martens is passionate on this matter as the leader of a church with a sizable Iranian and Afghan refugee community in its congregation. A 2016 Atlantic article noted that his Berlin church then had roughly 1,000 such Iranian and Afghan baptized members. That path to baptism was one that involved classes and serious examination to ensure true conversion — not simply a feigned change in order to secure a visa.
“There is a Christian awakening among Iranians and Afghans on a large scale. That’s something that these German atheists cannot understand at all. Why don’t they come here for just one Sunday and then they will know better?”
Will you pray for Christian converts seeking asylum from Iran, Afghanistan, and other dangerous regions? Let’s pray that Germany and other nations on both sides of the Atlantic that proclaim fealty to values of life and liberty would treat them with justice and compassion. And may our church communities shine as beacons for and with these brothers and sisters in Christ.
How are you praying for persecuted Christian converts around the world? Share your thoughts and prayers below.
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