As of October 2022, protests in Iran have been a trending topic on many social media pages and news outlets. Currently, the Iranian government has responded to these protests with violence. What are their citizens protesting about?
Violence against women and the unequal treatment of women under Islam is not a new topic. If you would like to read about Islam’s treatment of women to better understand the topic at hand: check out these blog posts.
But recently, after a young woman died in Iranian police custody after being arrested for improperly wearing a hijab, protests began in Iran’s major cities and have since spread around the world. Right now, the Church around the world needs to be praying for the Iranian people.
Religion in Iran
Iran is officially called the “Islamic Republic of Iran”, so all of the rules and laws follow the Sharia law, with leaders being chosen according to Shiite customs. Religion is a cornerstone for Iranian life, especially when it comes to intercultural relationships.
The majority of Iran is Shiite Muslims, with Sunni Islam only existing in Kurdish or Turkish populations (which are extremely small). An extremely small and persecuted part of the population is the Christian population, this also includes Zoroastrians and Jews when the population is counted.
Most of Iran’s population is concentrated in urban areas. This coincides with more government regulation in the urban areas. However, rural areas have a large social network, which means there is a lot of social pressure and persecution for the Church. Neither urban or rural locations are easier for Christians to live in.
Iran is ranked the ninth hardest country for Christians to live in, because of the Islamic oppression and persecution (Open Doors USA). The biggest population that is at risk of being persecuted is Muslims who leave Islam for Jesus, because of both the social and legal repercussions. We must pray that the Iranian Church can continue to grow despite the persecution, especially in this current political and social unrest.
Life in Iran for Women
Part of Iran’s government includes the Morality Police, who are in charge of enforcing the modesty of women as well as restricting freedom of expression. It was the Morality Police that arrested the woman whose death sparked the 2022 protests in Iran.
Iranian women and girls have expressed explicit fear and anger at Iran’s rules for women, which all have to do with properly covering their heads and bodies according to Quranic and Hadith standards. As the protests have continued, Iranian civilians continue to die, and there are reports of them losing internet access as well.
How to pray for Iran
Currently we must pray:
- That Iranian women and girls would be safe from gender violence and have more rights.
- For the Church in Iran to continue to grow despite persecution.
- That the Lord might use this time of unrest in Iran to remove Islamic powers and create more freedoms.
- For Islamic government surveillance to be blind to the growth of the Church.
- That Christians in Iran would be strong in their faith and share the love of Christ with others.