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‘Converts’ isolation leads to reliance on satellite TV to stay connected’

‘Converts’ isolation leads to reliance on satellite TV to stay connected’

Article 18’s Mansour Borji (second from left) was among the speakers at this morning’s event (SAT-7)

Article18’s advocacy director, Mansour Borji, was one of the speakers at a panel discussion on religious freedom in London this morning.

Borji explained how the Iranian government has limited Christian converts’ right to freedom of assembly, leading to isolation and a reliance on satellite television as a means of staying connected to their faith community.  

However, he added that the Church in Iran continues to grow, despite this repression. 

“Faith endures,” he said, sharing how he had spoken just yesterday with four Christians currently incarcerated in Tehran’s Evin Prison for holding church services in their homes.

Another of the speakers at the event, which was co-sponsored by by Middle East broadcaster SAT-7 and the Conservative Christian Fellowship, was the UK’s Minister of State for the Middle East, Alistair Burt.

Mr. Burt said that incidents of religious intolerance and discrimination were “on the rise across the globe” – and not only against Christians.

He stressed that while Christians should be able to share their faith freely, there was also a need to understand the context in which they were doing so. 

“If you are working in the Middle East, where the infusion of faith with everyday life … runs right through societies, through governance and everything else, not to have a sensitivity for the cultural context is harmful,” he said. 

He also celebrated the recent appointment of Tariq Ahmad as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, saying the UK government had “become aware of the need to advocate more firmly for [religious freedom] and, in a non-threatening manner, to try and raise the issue”.

“I know that the Conservative Christian Fellowship and others have campaigned for a long time that the government should have an advocate, as they do in some other countries,” he said. “And I’m sure friends here will be pleased that this is something the Prime Minister has done.”