Iran: Court rules that converts to Christianity are ‘not fit’ parents, adopted child must be taken from them
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Sam and Maryam
Jihad Watch : Judge Muhammad Hassan Dashti said that Lydia faced an “uncertain future”
and may spend “the rest of her life” in state care, but in the Islamic
Republic of Iran, apparently that is preferable to the prospect of her
being raised by Christians.
“Christian converts’ adopted child to be removed from their care,” Article 18, September 24, 2020:
Lydia was just three months old when she was adopted by Iranian Christian converts Sam Khosravi and wife Maryam Falahi.Now, just one month before her second birthday, a court has ruled shemust be taken away from them, as Sam and Maryam – who are currently
appealing against convictions related to their membership of a
house-church – are “not fit” to be her parents. The ruling, handed down by a court in their home city of Bushehr,
southwestern Iran, on 19 July but not reported until now, was upheld by a
court of appeal on Tuesday, 22 September, despite the judge in his
initial verdict acknowledging that Lydia felt an “intense emotional
attachment” to her adoptive parents and saying there was “zero chance”
another adoptive family would be found for her, given Lydia’s health
It is now anticipated that Iran’s State and Welfare Organisation will
seek to remove Lydia from Sam and Maryam’s care as soon as they are
made aware of the failed appeal.
And it is with the state, Sam and Maryam fear, that Lydia is likely
to remain. Indeed, in his initial verdict Judge Muhammad Hassan Dashti
acknowledged that Lydia faced an “uncertain future” and may spent “the
rest of her life” in state care.
But that didn’t prevent him from ruling against Lydia’s adoptive
parents – and for one reason: they are Christian converts, and Lydia,
though her parentage is not known, is considered a Muslim, and as such
by law ought only to be cared for by Muslim parents.
Sam and Maryam maintain that they were always clear about their
conversion to Christianity; however, the judge ruled that Lydia – a
nominally “Muslim” child – should never have been placed in their care.
This fatwa by Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, one of the most
senior clerics in Iran, declares Sam and Lydia’s adoption “permissible”.
In seeking to overturn the verdict, the couple’s lawyer managed to
obtain two fatwas from Grand Ayatollahs – the most senior Shia Islamic
authority in Iran – declaring that, owing to the “critical nature” of
the case, poor health of the child and undisputed emotional attachment
with her parents, Lydia’s adoption by Christian converts was
“permissible”.But the appeal court judges, in their short ruling, made no reference
to the fatwas and only declared that they were upholding the ruling as
they had not been presented with any “specific or reasonable evidence”
to overturn it.
In his initial ruling, Judge Dashti was clearly sympathetic, noting
that “in 13 years of marriage, [Sam and Maryam] didn’t have a child to
bring light and warmth to their home”, as well as bemoaning Lydia’s
“uncertain future” and strong bond with her parents.
Article18’s advocacy director, Mansour Borji, explained that the wording the judge used indicated that his hands were tied.
“The verdict clearly demonstrates the unwillingness of the judge to
hand down this sentence,” he said, “and that he was coerced by the
representative of the Ministry of Intelligence. It is another clear
example of the lack of independence of the judiciary in cases involving