Critical Commentary: Iran Puts Five Christians on Trial for Their Faith

Posted on March 20, 2013 by

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Lisa Daftari, Iran Puts Five Christians on Trial for Their Faith, Fox News, March 11, 2013

 As is reported in this piece of news, five Iranian Christian coverts from Islam are charged of disturbing public order, evangelizing, threatening national security and engaging in Internet activity that threatens the government, because differs from orthodox Shia Islam is considered a challenge to the state itself. It also talks about how it is illegal for Iranian to worship at both public churches and home churches.

 This article was written by an American working in Fox News mainly about the conflict between Islam and Christianity. The writer seems to be criticizing such Islamic rule although she does not have any overt statement.

 The headline gives me the impression that this trial is ridiculous because the five Christians were put on trial because of their faith. This just does not sound right. The first paragraph gives a little more information about the title and ends with “according to a human rights group following the case”, and this tells me that what does not sound right about the title is that the Iranian government is violating their human rights! The writer repeatedly uses the word “movement”, which implies that having a home church is not just for one’s own religious purpose but also a political purpose. She also uses “notoriously brutal” to describe the prison. This is obviously negative and again associates the issue with human rights problem.

 The sources used in this article are from “a human rights group”, Christian Solidarity Worldwide a religious persecution watchdog group, and international legal director at the American Center for Law and Justice. These are all against the Iranian government from their position, so the information we can get from them will only be negative about the Iranian government, which is biased. There is no different perspective offered. We cannot fully trust these sources because they have their certain political goals to achieve by decide what kind of information to give out.

 The point of view being promoted in this news article is that Iranian government is violating the human rights of their citizens. Obvious enough, the “good guys” are those to have home churches for converts to worship and the “bad guys” are the Iranian government. The coverage stirs up the anger of people who read it. This can eventually result in hostility towards Iran or other Islamic country as the views towards then have long been shaped as the bad or evil ones. Having too many articles like this would arouse biased and negative attitude towards Islam. People would be likely to know nothing about Islam but how evil it is.

Considering the attention-drawing part, this article is quite successful. The writer know how to use the conflict between Christianity and Islam, and the mixing of politics and religion, to attract the attention of readers because there are what they are interested in. 

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