By: Rajini KG
January 18 2023
Older images of people being baptized on different occasions have been misrepresented as 80 Iranian Muslims converting to Christianity recently.
Claims that Iranian Muslims have converted to Christianity in Germany have been circulating on Facebook since December 2022. One of the posts claims, "More than 80 Iranian Muslims in Germany accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord. They left their country to get baptized in Christ." It also claims, "Some believe that in the last years, more than five million Iranians in Iran have come to Christ." The post includes multiple photos of people being baptized in a river.
However, images from different occasions over the past few years are being circulated to invoke religious tensions. No evidence corroborates that five million Iranians converted to Christianity in 2021. Many factors undermine it, and incidents of private conversions are not always reported.
Using a reverse image search, we found that the images used in the Facebook posts were old photos published by multiple different sources, each with different contexts. The first image, which contains six people standing in the river, was found on the Braunschweiger Zeitung news website on July 23, 2019. The caption states, "Six of the 31 baptized who professed their Christian faith at the invitation of the Immanuel parish in Allersee." The report also mentions that the "free evangelical Immanuel parish frequently performs Baptisms on the Allersee in Westhagen." A total of 31 young people, clad in white, were baptized while standing by the water. Out of the 31, 13 were Iranian refugees, the report says.
The second image, where people are seen standing in small circles in the water, was found in a photo gallery published by Time Magazine in 2009. The caption says, "Christian pilgrims journey to the place where John the Baptist is thought to have performed the rite on Jesus." Getty Images also posted the same image on October 4, 2009, titled, "Brazilian Evangelist Christians embrace in prayer during their mass baptism ceremony in the Jordan River on October 4, 2009, at Yardenit in northern Israel. Hundreds of worshippers from northern Brazil immersed themselves in the biblical river as part of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land."
The third image, where three men are seen standing in water, was found on the Evangelical Focus website and is dated September 12, 2016. The caption states: "An asylum seeker gets baptized with a Pentecostal church in Weishaus (Germany)."
This confirms that the images used in the post are old and were not captured in 2022 or 2023. While there are reports of Iranian refugees converting to Christianity in Germany over the past few years, there is inadequate evidence of the total number of people participating. Neither the government of Iran nor the German government has released any reports or statements on the conversion of Iranian Muslims.
Logically has reached out to the Immanuelgemeinde Wolfsburg Evangelical church, located in Wolfsburg, Germany, for a response but received no response. We will update the check accordingly if we receive one.
Old images from different occasions have been circulated with misleading narratives. No recent reports of the number of Iranian Muslims who have converted to Christianity are publicly available. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.