Because she boldly chose to follow Jesus in Iran. Fatemeh Mohammadi is only 19 years old but has already spent six months of those years in prison. Her crime? Being a member of a house church in Tehran. She’s also the future of one of the world’s fastest-growing global churches.
In addition to being a faithful witness, Fatemeh is also a rare activist for Christians. She boldly speaks out about believers’ rights, including the bad treatment she received in prison.
She writes on a variety of social issues and has also run a campaign petitioning for all Christians, including converts, to be given the right to worship in a church.
Earlier this year, Fatemeh wrote an open letter to Iran’s Minister of Intelligence, accusing him of violating the constitution by targeting Christians. In her letter, she accused him of violating Article 23 of the constitution, which states that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”
Fatemeh also questioned why Christians are prevented from “talking about their beliefs with their peers,” while Muslims can freely engage in “propaganda” at schools, universities, mosques and shrines
Last week, she was arrested because she filed a complaint against a woman who assaulted her for not wearing her headscarf the right way. Her assailant was released, but Fatemeh once again found herself behind bars. She spent a night in prison and the next day was released with a warning.
Because she is so bold in her witness and in her efforts to stand up for Christians, particularly for converts like her, this recent arrest will most likely not be Fatemeh’s last day in prison.
Illegal to convert
In Iran, it’s illegal to convert from Islam and illegal to share your faith. Consequently, church services in Farsi (Iran’s national language) are not allowed. Converts from Islam face persecution from the government, and house church participants risk the constant threat of arrest.
Fatemeh and Christians like her in Iran live in a society governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.
Keep Fatemeh in your prayers. Specifically, pray for her recovery from the assault last week. And pray with believers who have also chosen Jesus and are risking everything to be a part of Iran’s underground church. Pray for protection, discernment and boldness. And that God would continue to raise up men and women like Fatemeh for His Church.