Christian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces potential execution

Just days after Iran released two Americans accused of spying, an Iranian court has upheld the apostasy conviction and execution … Continued

Just days after Iran released two Americans accused of spying, an Iranian court has upheld the apostasy conviction and execution sentence of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

The 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ. Iran’s supreme court had previously ruled that the trial court must determine if Youcef had been a Muslim before converting to Christianity.

However, the judges, acting like terrorists with a hostage, demanded that he recant his faith in Christ before even taking evidence. The judges stated that even though the judgment they have made is against the current Iranian and international laws, they have to uphold the previous decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.

When asked to “repent” by the judges, Youcef stated, “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” The judges replied , “To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.” To which he replied, “I cannot.”

It is reported that Youcef was able to see his children for the first time since March and was in good spirits speaking of how he longed to serve the church upon his release.

Pastor Youcef will be brought to the court for two additional “hearings” on September 27th and 28th for the sole purpose of being called upon to recant his Christian faith. The ACLJ’s sources report that although Pastor Youcef’s attorneys will attempt to appeal the case, there is no guarantee that the provincial court will not act on its own interpretation of Sharia law and execute pastor Youcef as early as Wednesday.

Technically, there is no right of appeal, and under Iran’s interpretation of Hadith and Sharia law, Pastor Youcef is to be given three chances to recant. He has already been asked to recant twice, and will be asked to do so again Tuesday. If he does not recant his Christian faith, he could be executed at any time.

We are continuing to press for the international community to take note of Youcef’s situation and call for his unconditional release. We are also continuing to work with members of Congress and are urging the State Department to get involved to save the life of this Christian pastor.

There is still time to save this pastor’s life.

Please share Youcef’s situation with anyone you know and pray for his release and the safety of his attorney, a brave Muslim who has been sentenced to nine years in prison and banned from practicing law by the Iranian government.

Firouz Sadegh-Khandjani, a Member of the Council of Elders for the Church of Iran and a close personal friend of Youcef, called into my radio show Tuesday from Iran to provide an update on Pastor Youcef. You can listen to the interview here.

Update: Speaker of the House John Boehner released the following statement on the case:

  • freedomars454

    Islam is such a lovely religion.

    I am sure the left will be as apoplectic over this as they are over Christians disapproving of homosexuality.

  • redadam

    Imposing the death penalty is devilish. Any nation or people who do such things deserve the undying hatred of the world for they have denied their humanity.

  • freedomars454

    Where is amnesty international?

  • Telemachus

    Islam. Love it or die. Is that what Muslims really want? Any Muslim who wants to live in peace with others must speak up loudly. Unless, of course, they live in a country, like Pakistan, where they would be torn apart by mobs for their tolerance. Something everyone should notice is that Islamic states are barbaric in their “justice” even and especially to fellow Muslims. A Muslim’s only hope for safety is to live in a secular state.

  • FLOYDINFLORIDA

    This preacher is trying to get himself executed!
    It is not his refusal to recant Christianity that will get him executed it is his calling the Muslim faith blasphemy that will send his butt to the Gallows!
    His overt actions are what brought him to the attention of the Government!
    If he is lucky they will send him to prison or Banish him from Iran but that is doubtful!

  • rosefarm1

    I completely sympathize with this man, but calling Islam blasphemous isn’t doing him any favors and doesn’t make him particularly Christ-like. One can refuse to repent their faith without denigrating the faith of others.

  • Wonka1

    and ‘they’ say Muslims are not a threat. I guess that is true if they don’t actually follow their religion (like most Americans don’t follow the rules of Christianity). Unfortunately, the worst that a true Christian will do to you is to try to convert you; while a true believer of Islam will try to kill you if you challenge their believes.

  • McKDave

    If you truly believe the tenets of Christianity or Islam, then the inescabable conculusion is that a person of the other faith is blasphemous and doomed to eternal damnation. That doesn’t mean one couldn’t tollerate the other person’s “erroneous” belief, but if you truly believe then you must think everyone who doesn’t believe is wrong. That’s the problem with believers.

  • tiffaice20

    how is it not ”Christ-like” to call as it is? Jesus didn’t mask things just to try to not hurt any people or to gain favor from others, he said things how they were, no matter who liked it or who didn’t.

  • tiffaice20

    And McKDave I disagree with you I’m sorry. I am a Christian, and I dnt go around judging peoples religions. It doesnt matter ir you’re Catholic Muslim Mormon, It don’t matter, the Lord will be the one to judge not I.

  • mossmillennium

    The purpose of religion is to discipline yourself and not to be critical of others.

  • pgibson1

    Religion.

    One need not say any more to understand fully.

  • danielgrenz

    While what you said is true–that if we really believe the tenants of Christianity or Islam then we also believe that those of other faiths are doomed to eternal damnation, the reality behind that truth cannot be separated from the emotion that accompanies it, namely that our hearts should break for those “lost” in accordance with the breaking and longing of God’s heart. It’s not a pronouncement of judgement, but a cry for mercy and a call to salvation and life. If you had a child standing in the middle of a busy street about to be hit, you would realize that action was required because of love in order to keep your child from destruction…similar reality.

  • SZafarIqbal

    One cannot be a Muslim without believing in One God, the Creator of the Universe and all of us, and believing in Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and Muhammad ( may God’s peace and blessings be upon all of them).

    The story of Virgin Mary, of Jesus Christ, his immaculate birth, his life and teachings are all narrated in the Qur’an.

    As Muslims consider Qur’an the literal word of God, a belief in Jesus, along with other prophets of God, is an essential requirement for being a Muslim.

    Calling Islam a blasphemy is certainly not the way of the Christ, as Christ is known to the Muslims, through the Qur’an.

  • AJAX2

    Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is currently on trial in Rasht, Iran. He has appeared in court three times this week and each time has refused to renounce his faith when asked to do so by the court. If he does not recant his Christian faith, he could be executed at any time (on or after Thursday, September 29).

    The 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ.

    When asked to “repent” by the judges, Yousef stated, “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” The judges replied, “To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.” To which he replied, “I cannot.”

    TAKE ACTION

    Call and leave a message for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to request the Iranian government to stop any attempt to execute Pastor Nadarkhani and to offer asylum to Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. A brother needs your help.

    Main Switchboard:

    202-647-4000
    TTY:1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay Service)

  • axerickson

    The problem with non-believers is that they think they are right. Think about it. We all think we are right. If that wasn’t true you would not have responded.

  • akhtarman

    Wonka1, you may want to talk to Bosnian Muslims about their nice Christian rapists from Bosnia or Serbia. Or maybe people in Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Afghan, Pakistan, etc. about what the Christian West has done to them.

    White Christians are good people sometimes. However, when they are bad, they are the worst racists, warmongerers, rapist, theives and killers in history. Ask your own “Red” man for confirmation.

  • Davinski

    This persecution of Christians is a reoccurring theme in the Muslim world. There is no religious tolerance in Islam. Witness the persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt whose presence there predates Islam by 600 years. The sin of apostasy is punishable by death not just in Iran but Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kuwait and others. The fact that Pastor Nadarkhani is willing to die rather than deny Christ is lost on most faithless materialists and atheists. Most of these posts are from those lacking the understanding of faith. The faith of those that would kill their brothers in the name of God only because their faith is different from their own are living in delusion. Indeed the idea of the brotherhood of man seems to be lacking in Islam. Does any Muslim out there believe that a man’s faith is a personal matter between him and his God? It is open season on Christians in this world from intolerance and persecution in the Muslim countries and from the disdain and ridicule heaped on them from the secular left in the West. God bless Pastor Nadarkhani! My prayer to God that he be spared!

  • tmhuston

    some are just wrong McKDave! Are you seriously trying to justify this man’s potential killing b/c you don’t like believers? Sick! You might need to check your own morals and, incidentally, they are well within the tenets of Islam for this—notice any difference between the beliefs?

  • Djones121

    The judges of this kangaroo court are the ones who are denigrating Islam; not this completely innocent Christian pastor. This is just another form of Islamist terrorism and lawlessness as practiced by Iran.
    I doubt if the Obama administration will speak up for the pastor; it just isn’t PC enough. Where is Pastor Jones when we need him?

  • MotherLodeBeth

    It’s so scary and sad that some folks think that if you don’t believe as they do that you should be killed. Ever think about those Christians here in the states who are from Kansas who picket events and say if you don’t believe as they do that you should be killed?

    Also of interest to me is the fact that Christianity arose thousands of years before Islam, yet being a Christian convert is considered illegal in Iran.

  • 2426

    akhtarman – Ah, but the reverse is true. Muslims have historically raped and plummeted the Christian Serbs, and gotten away with it. The mass graves? Myth. Yet the press still reports it as fact.

  • 2426

    He didn’t refer to Islam as blasphemy. He referred to his past as a sinner as blasphemy. He never was a Muslim.

  • 2426

    He is referring to his past life as a sinner (pre-conversion) as blasphemy, not to Islam. He never was a practicing Muslim.

  • d38105

    I bet Akhtar thinks that muslims have never committed any wrongs. I am sure the Arabs conquered half the world and spread Islam by being friendly humanitarians, right?

    Also, if a Christian does such a thing like killing, it is against his religion. Muslims are told that killing “unbelievers” is acceptable and is therefore able to both commit murder and be considered a “good” Muslim.

  • divi3

    real shame the man is going to die because his belief in one fairy-tale doesnt align with his tormentors belief in their fairy tale. Hopefully humanity can start to move past such nonsense, eventually anyway.

  • jonnychepe

    If they execute him I predict that several muslims will be killed in retaliation by christian arabs. It’s their way.

  • negris77

    even in this line of comments we see the vitriol and toxic mentality that would have an perfectly innocent man executed for refusing to allow his children to be indoctrinated…in a faith different to his own…

  • negris77

    the primitive sense that birth, instead of conscience, is determining to one’s religion is at the root of this blatant violation of the most basic of human rights

  • greenwald_adam

    The definition of Blasphemy is “an act of cursing or reviling God. ”
    If one truly believes that Jesus is God, and that the Bible is truth, then publicly disowning him would be the same as cursing him.