Saturday, October 1, 2011

Re: Yousef Nadarkhani

We received a lot of feedback about Friday's post on the impending execution of Yousef Nadarkhani. Carol did some research and has come up with additional thoughts on the situation. She writes:
I think it's important to remember that this ordeal has been going on since October of 2009 when Nadarkhani was arrested for a charge of illegal protest when he questioned Islamic control over religious instruction at his children's school. This charge was increased to apostasy and evangelizing Muslims, which is a capital offense in Iran.

It is also important to recognize the others who have been affected by this situation. Not only has Nadarkhani been imprisoned during these past two years of trials and appeals, but his wife was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison. What is happening with their children? Are they with living with loving relatives, or are they being persecuted for their faith as well?

And human rights lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, deserves respect for his courage to defend Nadarkhani despite charges of "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime." He has been sentenced to 9 years in prison and barred from practicing law for the next decade. There are probably many other (unnamed) people involved, and (untold) sacrifices being made, to defend Christianity in Iran.

A Washington Times editorial reports that "When asked to repent of Christianity, Nadarkhani said, 'repent means to return. What should I return to?' The court replied, 'return to the religion of your ancestors, Islam.' Nadarkhani answered, 'I cannot.' He also wrote from prison, 'Let us remember that beyond beautiful or painful feelings, only three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. It is important for believers to make sure which kind of Faith, Hope, and Love will remain.'
As of this writing I have yet to hear anything of Nadarkhani's fate. Perhaps the international exposure of this travesty will prevent the Iranians from harming him. What they'll do to his wife and lawyer, however, is anyone's guess. Iran may be the most obvious modern witness to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers who established both the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state in our young nation. We can be thankful that we don't live in a country under the thumb of intolerant religious, or ideological, bigots.