Pastor Martens’ church offers refuge to Christians from Iran who have fled to Germany to escape religious persecution in their home country. They continue to face the threat of deportation, but the pastor hopes to protect them by providing sanctuary.
Behrad Allehyari simply wanted to practice his beliefs. In Tehran, he was active in a home church that held secret church services and bible studies. Such activities may sound harmless but can attract critical attention from Iranian authorities, and there, renouncing one’s Islamic faith is punishable by death. Behrad Allehyari fled to Europe to seek asylum. But Germany denied his application and planned to deport him. Protestant pastor Gottfried Martens from Berlin viewed this as a violation of human rights and took it upon himself to prevent Christians like Allehyari from being deported by granting them sanctuary in his church. As long as they live there, they are safe from deportation. Allehyari intends to file an objection to the refusal of his asylum request – but is also preparing for a very different occasion: On Easter night, he wishes to finally be baptized as a Christian.
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