USA (MNN) — Israel voiced its opposition to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's being allowed to speak at the United Nations General Assembly. His speech follows what some call a "rigged" election a few months ago, which gave him a re-election win. However, it brought with it protests — thousands of people filled the streets of Tehran wanting justice. Ahmadinejad can't make a speech in Tehran without hearing, "death to the dictator" uttered throughout the crowd.
President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller says it's ironic that Ahmadinejad can speak in the United States. "The very freedoms that allow him to come here to speak openly without fear are the very freedoms he denies his own people. We are concerned about the hostility, the animosity and the persecution that he's shown to the Christian community there in Iran."
Iran, in the last 20 years, has become one of the youngest nations in the world. More than two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30. Moeller says, "When religious authorities impose from the top a religious orthodoxy, young people rebel. And that's what we're seeing today in Iran. That rebellion is leading people to reject and see the true face of Islam and reject it and turn to Jesus Christ."
He says this is happening by the thousands, which may be why authorities are taking action against converts to Christianity.
Moeller says many people are turning to Christ. One Christian leader says, "It is almost impossible to ask any Muslim in Iran, 'Do you know someone who's converted from Islam to Christianity?' and have them not say, 'Yes, I know personally someone who has converted.'"
While many claim Iran's religious and political leaders are corrupt, Moeller believes there's only one answer to the problem. "Ultimately, it has to come from a spiritual center. People who are extremists of Islam must come to know Jesus Christ if there's any hope for real peace in that place."
Open Doors continues to support the growing church in Iran. Moeller says, "It's not possible for me to really comment on the kinds of work that we're engaged in, in that country because to reveal it would seal its doom. That being said, Open Doors is committed to providing the material, resources, Bibles, books, training and various other things that these new Muslim background believers need."
Moeller says they also are helping new believers in other ways. "When these Muslims come to faith in Christ they have to literally leave their families, their communities and even their professions behind. So we're helping them re-identify how to live in their society."
Moeller asks Christians to pray for new believers there. Pray also for Christian radio and television broadcasts that are being beamed into Iran. Pray that God will use it to bring more Iranian people to Himself.