Bay Area minister delivers message to Iran

June 19, 2009 7:21:51 PM PDT
For a Bay Area minister, the unrest in Iran now is reminiscent of the demonstrations 30 years ago, during the overthrow of the shah.

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He was in Tehran then and a Muslim at the time. Now he is a Christian and in contact with people back home, on television.

A television broadcast seen in Iran in Farsi and a Christian television broadcast that with addiction, depression and loneliness comes from a television studio in Sunnyvale.

Dr. Hormoz Shariat, who founded the Iranian Christian Church, is on the air in Iran daily by satellite. It's changed this week because of the demonstrations.

"The phones are down, so the connections have been sporadic. We're taking very few calls from Iran during the live show," said Dr. Shariat.

He says Christianity is growing in the Muslim country.

"They take the risk to call and they take the risk to sometimes pray," said Dr. Shariat.

And callers are telling him there are going to be more confrontations.

"I think eventually the government has to increase the violence to stop them. That's what I see is coming," said Dr. Shariat.

He knows what it is like. Dr. Shariat was an activist in Iran during the overthrow of the shah in 1979.

"That was against the shah and the U.S. most people are not against the U.S. Most of Iranians are not against the U.S., but the government is," said Dr. Shariat.

He came to this country with a degree in computer engineering, and on a spiritual search he left Islam to become a Christian. With the TV show, he says he gets threats from Iran.

"People call and say they're going to kill you and bomb this place. But we are public ministry," said Dr. Shariat.

Preparing for the Father's Day sermon, he believes power is shifting and change is coming in Iran.

"Government is Islam, Islam is government. When you become a Christian, you're not just changing religion, you're rejecting the government," said Dr. Shariat.

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