Hormoz Shariat, the co-founding pastor of the Iranian Christian Church in San Jose, Calif., and founder of International Antioch Ministries (IAM), which has broadcast Iranian Christian TV (ICTV,www.iam-online.net) since 2002, agreed.
"The population in Iran is 70 million.Seventy percent of the population is under 30, and we are finding that many young people are converting their families and friends after they come to Jesus," Shariat
, 49, said."Still, they have to hide their viewing of the Christian broadcasts, as they risk imprisonment, loss of residence and jobs, and even death."
In December, the U.S. State Department's Annual Report on Religious Freedom assailed Iran among the worst offenders of religious liberty in the Middle East.According to this year's Open Doors' "World Watch List" of countries where Christians are targeted, Iran ranked fifth among nations that persecute believers.Safa, who like Shariat was raised a devout Shiite in Iran and later became a Christian after leaving the country, said Nejat TV
(www.rezasafa.com) has seen more than 3,000 Iranians and Afghans accept Christ since they started broadcasting last year.
noted that ICTV's live, "prime-time" pastoral call-in show has been "the catalyst" for more than 50,000 conversions of Muslims worldwide."One time we had 30 people listening in on a single phone call and all came to Jesus through our show and we ministered to them off the air," Shariat
A missionary working in the Muslim world who asks that his
name be withheld because of security concerns said: "Satellite TV broadcasts have long been one of the only significant ways of reaching the Muslim world in any large quantity," he