Al Arabiya English | Emily Judd | February 11, 2020
When Iranian authorities sentenced two women to death in 2009 for spreading the message of Christianity, international observers feared the worse from the regime’s latest attempt to crush religious freedom in Iran.
But the regime’s punishment backfired when Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh evangelized hundreds of fellow prisoners, and even prison guards, in the 259 days before they were released following intense international pressure.
The women’s story is just one example of how the Islamic Republic’s severe attempts to suppress its own people, especially religious minorities, have failed.
Evangelizing behind bars
Rostampour and Amirizadeh initially prayed for a quick release after being sent to Tehran’s Evin prison, which is notorious for cruel and prolonged torture, using methods such as threats of execution or rape, sleep deprivation, electroshock, and severe beatings.
However, the friends soon realized “God had a purpose for being in that dark place,” according to Amirizadeh.
“At first we were praying for our release. But after a few days we realized that by meeting other women in the prison – some who were homeless or addicts – God had given us an opportunity to share the message of Christianity with people who needed to hear it the most,” said Rostampour in an interview with Al Arabiya English.