For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 3 Nov 2013.
Former agricultural scientist and now refugee advocate Graeme Swincer claims hundreds of thousands of Iranians are vulnerable to increasing levels of persecution on religious grounds.
A report for the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group notes that “traditional” Christians are now living precariously, and many choose to flee. But even more exposed to oppression and danger are “apostates”, both those who have abandoned Islamic allegiance and practice without embracing an alternative faith, and those who have identified as Christians.
Many “secular” Muslims survive by separating their lives into private and public spheres. But there is always a risk of persecution, especially if other factors trigger special attention from authorities. If discovered they may be at risk of extreme punishment and even death.
The pressure to seek asylum in countries such as Australia is very high, for secular Iranians and for those who embrace Christianity, whether before or after departure from Iran.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.