Although Christianity is suppressed in Iran and conversion away from Islam is illegal, there are an estimated 800,000 covert believers, many of them converts from Islamic backgrounds. According to Open Doors, at least 193 Christians were arrested or imprisoned for their faith last year.
Azada, a woman who runs a church, is in contact with Iranian women converts on a daily basis. She said that, in Jesus, Iranian women gain confidence that they did not gain from the honour-based culture in which they had grown up.
Women who become Christians, she said, find that they ‘are loved, they are wanted, and they can come to God just as they are, without shame. Many women risk imprisonment and torture by being active evangelists’, she continued. ‘And, because God gives them strength, each day new people, men and women, get to know the love of Christ and their true identity: beloved children of God.’
One woman, Shifa, has launched an online church group where Iranians who have become Christians can connect and receive pastoral care. Shifa, who no longer lives in Iran, was motivated to do this after the cousin who told her about Jesus was imprisoned for her faith, leaving her with no-one to help her understand the Bible or answer her questions.