By Kenya Sinclair
Chaldean Catholic Church in Western Tehran issued several pleas for recovering the stolen property but officials continue to plan for the church’s conversion into an Islamic Mosque.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – Assyrian International News Agency reported Sunday that the land was illegally obtained two years ago under the pretext that it was necessary to do so during an Islamic prayer hall construction.
Jonathan Bet-Kelia, a member of the regime’s Majlis, meaning parliament, reported Iranian authorities have since refused to return the land. Christian minorities have repeatedly complained about illegal church ground confiscation.
Bet-Kelia claimed to have approached Ali Younesi, a special assistant to the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani concerning ethical minority affairs.
Unfortunately, Younesi is a former minister of intelligence and security who is believed to be responsible for ordering several arrests and assassinations of dissidents. He told Bet-Kelia it was out of his hands, so the land was not returned.
Shiite Muslim ruling clerics in Iran are known to oppress religious minorities, and even Sunni Muslims of basic rights. The regime has openly admitted to confiscating the Chaldean Catholic Church with plans to convert it into a mosque.
Ali Safavi, of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) described: “The brazen admission displays first and foremost the discriminatory and sectarian policies of the regime vis-a-vis Iran’s religious minorities.
“At the same time, it speaks to the failure of Western policy to accommodate the regime in the futile hope that it will promote moderation and tolerance on the domestic front.”
Almighty and eternal God, You have promised that there will someday be but one fold and one Shepherd.
Hasten that day, we pray You, in Your most merciful kindness and generosity.
Pour the light of Your grace into the minds of our non-Catholic friends so that they may see the truth, and fully realize that the truth is one and undivided.
Give them also the strength of will needed to follow in the direction of the light You give them.
Let us, their neighbors and friends, not be a hindrance to their conversion by our bad example.
Rather let Your goodness be made clear to them by the virtue of our lives.
Then may they finally all be brought to You, the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.