Basij Press- Gospel of Barnabas
Basij Press- Gospel of Barnabas Basij Press- Gospel of Barnaba

A leather-bound Gospel of Barnabas, discovered in 2000, could lead to a worldwide collapse of Christianity, according to a report in Iran's Basij Press.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the text, written on animal hide, was confiscated by Turkish authorities during an anti-smuggling operation against a group charged with smuggling antiquities, illegal excavations and the possession of explosives.

The text is in Syriac - a dialect of Aramaic - and was reportedly written sometime in the fifth or sixth centuries and, briefly, states Jesus Christ was never actually crucified and, in fact, he himself predicted the coming of the Prophet Muhammad and the religion of Islam. The Iranian press also suggested the discovery was so immense, it could affect world politics.

"The discovery of the original Barnabas Bible will now undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world," the Basij report states, adding, "The most significant fact, though, is that this Bible has predicted the coming of Prophet Mohammad and in itself has verified the religion of Islam, and this alone will unbalance the powers of the world and create instability in the Christian world."

"God has hidden himself as Archangel Michael ran them (Adam and Eve) out of heaven, (and) when Adam turned, he noticed that at top of the gateway to heaven, it was written "La elah ela Allah, Mohamad rasool Allah",' meaning Allah is the only God and Mohammad his prophet," Basij quoted Chapter 41 of the Gospel of Barnabas as saying.

There is no information as to where exactly the book was discovered by National Turk reported it was found in the Ankara Justice Palace, in the Turkish capital, and was being shifted to the city's Ethnography Museum under police escort.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail confirmed that the Vatican had sent an official request to see the text but it is not yet confirmed if the authorities have granted permission.

It has been pointed out this new find could be a fake and could have been written centuries after Prophet Muhammad's life.

Erick Stakelbeck, a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) News terrorism analyst and a close observer of Iranian affairs, explained to that Iran was highlighting the book because it sees Christianity as a competition.

"The Iranian regime is committed to stamping out Christianity by any means necessary, whether that means executing Christian converts, burning Bibles or raiding underground churches," Erick said.

"In promoting the so-called Barnabas Bible - which was likely written sometime in the 16th century and is not accepted by any mainstream Christian denomination - the regime is once again attempting to discredit the Christian faith. Record numbers of young Iranians are leaving Islam and embracing Christ, and the mullahs see Christianity as a growing threat to their authority," he added.

The gospel contains excerpts of the Bible written in gold lettering on leather which is loosely bundled and is estimated to be worth 40 million Turkish Liras (£17.8mn).