1st Edition

Religion, Media and Conversion in Iran Mediated Christianity in an Islamic Context

By Sara Afshari Copyright 2023
    218 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Religion, Media and Conversion in Iran studies the reception of Farsi Christian television channels by Muslim audiences in Iran: their motivations in viewing the Christian message, their methods of interpretation and negotiation with different media texts and their process of changing or altering their religion.

    Rooted in empirical research, it analyses three hundred narratives drawn from the audiences of four Farsi Christian satellite television channels between 2010 and 2015, investigating their conversion to Christianity through that medium. The research examines factors that influenced both their interpretations of, and negotiations with, the religious media message, and their process of changing, adding to or modifying their belief system, including their understanding of religious conversion. Drawing on Reception Theory, the book investigates the negotiations between meaning making and mediation and the process of faith transformation against the background of the sociology of religion and culture in contemporary Iran.

    By offering a unique insight into the way in which media and religion influence each other, this book is a great resource for any scholar of Religious Studies, Media Studies and Middle East Studies and will also be useful for religious media practitioners.


    1. A background

    2. Religion and religiosity

    3. The channels

    4. Participants and the message

    5. Route to ready – experimenting

    6. Negotiating

    7. Resisting

    8. Mediatisation of religious conversion

    9. Conclusion


    Sara Afshari is Research Tutor at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS). She is a co-founder and former Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS.

    "The contribution of visual media in the conversion of Iranians (or indeed more generally of Muslims) to Christianity has hitherto been assumed, based on an external grasp of both conversion and faith in life, rather than known. This brilliantly conceived, meticulously researched and tightly argued book more than makes up for this gap, both in its analytic approach to media and to the actuality of conversion, and will be of interest to a wider readership than its title suggests".

    Revd Dr Elizabeth Koepping, University of Edinburgh, UK

    "In this important book, Sara Afshari does a remarkable job in helping us understand ways that ordinary Iranian Muslim audiences of Christian media negotiate their belief system and become agents of change. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in gaining a critical understanding of media, religion and culture in general, and the role of audiences of Christian media in relation to conversion processes to Christianity in Iran".

    Prof Dion A. Forster, Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

    "Religion, Media and Conversion in Iran provides a fascinating glimpse into the complex negotiations of converts as they navigate their faith identities in relation to Christian broadcasting channels. It is an essential read for those interested in mediatised religion, the dynamics of conversion, or the impact of broadcasting".

    Dr Jonas Kurlberg, Spurgeon’s College, UK