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Iran's converted Christians find sanctuary in Germany
On a breezy Sunday morning, 17 Christian converts are being baptized into a Berlin congregation just in time for Christmas. The yellow, stained-glass windows, situated high enough to catch the sun‚Äôs beams, are glowing. The old wooden pews creak as more people, Bibles in hand, shuffle in to take a seat. Pastor Gottfried Martens, in an emerald green-colored liturgical garment, addresses the converts as his congregation looks on.
‚ÄúDo you recant the devil and his evil words?‚ÄĚ Marten's voice bellows through the church on a quiet residential street in the city's Zehlendorf district. ‚ÄúDo you recant Islam? Do you believe in Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit?‚ÄĚ One by one, they answer ‚Äúyes,‚ÄĚ as heads are dunked in holy water. A member of the church slips a cross pendant around the neck of each fresh convert. One looks at once amazed and unsure of her new identity and faith. A sea of smartphone cameras capture...