I am concerned to learn that according to Dr. Richard Land, a commissioner with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the state of religious freedom in Iran has “worsened” during the past year.
“In Iran, government rhetoric and actions worsened conditions for nearly all non-Shi’a religious groups, most notably for the Baha’is, as well as Sufi Muslims, evangelical Christians, and members of the Jewish community. The Commission has decided to designate Iran as a country of particular concern again because the situation has worsened,” said Land.
He added that the Iranian Parliament has been considering a law since September 2008, which includes a bill enshrining the death penalty for apostasy. “This proposed penal code should be rescinded,” said Land.
“The Commission urges the US government to call for the release of Muslim minorities and dissidents, including those Sufi Muslims in prison, as well as Ayatollah Boroujerdi, a senior Shi’a cleric who advocates the separation of religion and state,” he continued.
“The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based on primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused,” USCIRF’s 2009 report concluded.