First, let’s get one thing 100% clear, Mr Nadarkhani is a believer and I am not, so I do not support his beliefs. However, what I do very strongly support is his right to believe whatever he wishes. What is happening to him in Iran is an outrage of monumental proportions, a truly blatant manifestation of evil.
He has been sentenced to death because he is not a Muslim.
Apparently believing the wrong things warrants death, and so while the Iranians might think they are serving up the justice of their delusional Allah, they are in fact passing judgement upon themselves by clearly demonstrating that they are a bunch of delusional religious thugs. Are all Iranians that insane? No clearly not, but sadly the current regime is.
The history here is that Pastor Youcef Naderkhani was arrested by the Iranian authorities in October 2009 on charges of apostasy.
The story is that a change in the law required that all children had to learn the quran, so he went to the school his kids attended and protested against that because the Iranian constitution guarantees freedom to practice religion. His protest was reported to the police, who arrested him.
He was subsequently convicted of apostasy, and in September 2011 the Iranian Supreme Court upheld his conviction after he refused to recant his Christian faith. In February 2012, the American Center for Law and Justice received reports that Nadarkhani had been sentenced to death for those charges.
The International Business Times reported on 13th March …
For the first time since his arrest in 2009, Iran has admitted publicly that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been convicted of religious crimes.
During a United Nation Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Iran said Nadarkhani, who has been sentenced to death, was found guilty of three charges: building a church in his home without government permission, preaching to minors without parental consent and offending Islam, according to a meeting transcript.
Nadarkhani, who was arrested by authorities in October 2009 on charges of apostasy, led a congregation of about 400 from his home. Although apostasy isn’t a crime under Iran’s legal code, it is a crime under its religious codes; and Articles 513 and 514 do criminalize “insults” to “Islamic sanctities,” including holy figures, Iran’s leadership and the religion in general.
In the past, Iran had claimed that Nadarkhani had been charged with “security related crimes,” including rape and spying, but leaked court documents signed by Iranian Supreme Court judges belied the claim, indicating only that Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy and that he’d refused to convert to Islam when given the option by the court.
There have been rumors that he had been hung in secret by the Iranians, and it was deemed possible, because they have often held secret executions. In fact, there was even an image circulating the showed the Iranian pastor blindfolded, standing on gallows next to a noose while two armed guards stand behind him.
Well, the news now out (yesterday) is that he has not yet been executed. The Christian Post reports …
Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive and recent reports of his execution are false, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which was able to confirm on March 26 that the imprisoned evangelical minister’s death sentence for apostasy has not been carried out.
The ACLJ has confirmed that the image, which has reportedly been in circulation since July 2011, is a fake and the execution rumors are false. The organization stipulates that the false execution reports and images may be a part of a misinformation campaign initiated by the Iranian regime.
The ACLJ announced on Feb. 21 that a death order had been issued for the Iranian pastor, who has been imprisoned since Oct. 2009. Nadarkhani was initially arrested for protesting the mandatory teaching of Islam in his children’s school, but his charges were later changed to apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims.
Many critics argue that Iran should have issued a verdict by now, but is stalling Nadarkhani’s case in order to lessen international pressure.
His case has gained a large amount of international support, as many countries recognize Iran’s violation of human rights, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The American Center for Law and Justice has played a large role in ensuring Nadarkhani’s case be heard. In mid-February, the nonprofit organization began the “Tweet for Youcef” campaign, which has garnered support from around the world. The campaign uses Twitter to inform users of Nadarkhani’s plight.
You can learn more about “Tweet for Youcef” here.
People will continue to believe many strange and weird things and should be free to do so, but the moment any belief system attempts to impose beliefs by force, they have stepped over the line.
Islam, as practised by the regime in Iran, is a truly obnoxious and evil manifestation of this intolerance.
Take some action today … even if you do not believe the things that Youcef believes, tweet your support for him and his right to believe whatever he wishes, raise you voice in protest against this horrendous injustice.