Iranian clerics explore how AI expedites persecution

By December 5, 2023

Iran (MNN) — While the West clamors over artificial intelligence and the latest gadgets to make their lives easier, Christians in Iran prepare for the worst.

(Photo courtesy Heart 4 Iran)

Hardline clerics are exploring how AI can help them enforce Islamic law. Heart4Iran’s Laurelle Gallant says, “Religious leaders in Iran have argued that AI can be used for helping clerics issue fatwas faster and more effectively.”

A fatwa is a legal ruling issued by an Islamic leader. “Most clerics spend weeks or months poring over Islamic texts, social media accounts, emails, and search histories of their people to find infractions against Sharia law,” Gallant explains.

“AI could speed up both the research and the public release of fatwas.”

These edicts are used on everything from personal hygiene to Christian persecution, she adds. Ironically, Iran issued a fatwa against AI earlier this year.

“It is possible that [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei has reconsidered his stance on AI after seeing its potential benefits for the Islamic Republic,” Gallant says.

Christian leaders who partner with Heart4Iran “are aware of the potential risks of AI being used for surveillance, censorship, propaganda, and oppression … are calling for a responsible and ethical use of AI that respects human rights and values,” Gallant says.

“If AI can help issue fatwas more effectively and quickly, it can also increase the frequency and severity of the anti-Christian fatwas, which could endanger the lives and freedoms of Christian minorities in Iran.”

Now that you know, what will you do? Gallant suggests the following:

  • Pray for Iranian Christians fervently and regularly.
  • Consider sending Bibles and other resources through Heart4Iran to deepen the walk of Iranian Christians and help guide future generations. More about that here.
  • Learn more about the needs of Iranian Christians and advocate for their rights and freedoms. Follow Heart4Iran for regular updates.
  • Be ready to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with any Iranians you encounter in your community.



Header and story images courtesy of Heart4Iran.

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