Iran, Bibles and censorship
At the top of a Wiki list of banned books in Iran are The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Hardly surprising, really, but Lessons to Avoid AIDS … ?
Anyway, what started my brief investigation into Iranian censorship was a cutting from today’s Times emailed to me by a Freethinker reader. It was a report that a new Persian translation of the Bible will be smuggled into Iran to feed a growing Christian community in the Islamic republic.
Publishers of the new edition, unveiled at a ceremony in London today, plan to dump 300,000 copies on Iran over the next three years. Iranian clerics have denounced the move, but missionary groups claim Iran’s Christian community is the world’s fastest growing, rising by 20 percent a year.
My own view is that Iranians need the Bible like aardvarks need aromatherapy, but those intent on defying the authorities in Iran naturally think otherwise, and believe the Bible will satisfy a hunger among young Iranians for a new set of superstitions.
In announcing a “100,000 Bibles for Iran programme”, one outfit – World Compassion – made an astonishing claim a while ago:
About 90 percent of the under 30 generation is searching for something other than Islam to believe in. This search for truth presents an opportunity to share the Gospel that has been banned for over 30 years.
According to this 2011 report, the Iranian authorities seized 6,500 copies of the Bible in northwest Iran. At the time Dr Majid Abhari, adviser to the social issues committee of the parliament in Iran stated:
These missionaries with reliance on huge money and propaganda are trying to deviate our youth.
In a government interview with Mehr news agency, Abhari explained that the Bibles were taken because of governmental concerns that Christian missionaries mean to “deceive” young Iranians with “false propaganda”.
• The photo of an Iranian man with a Bible used to illustrate this post was taken from the Images of Iran site.
Hat tip: Ian P.