Thirty-four year old Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was arrested two years ago on charges of apostasy for converting from Islam to Christianity. He was arrested in October 2009 and found guilty of apostasy and sentenced to death by hanging. His attorney appealed the decision claiming that Nadarkhani was not a Muslim at the age of maturity.
As per custom, the lower court gave him three chances to recant. The first chance given him was to convert back to Islam and Nadarkhani refused. The second chance was for him to declare Muhammad a prophet and he once again refused to do so. On the third and final option to recant and convert back, he remained silent on the instructions of his attorney and family.
When the case went before Iran’s Supreme Court, prosecutors presented evidence claiming that Nadarkhani was a practicing Muslim at age 15 which is their age of adulthood. According to testimony, he converted to Christianity at age 19, and thus he is guilty of apostasy against the Muslim religion. The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling of guilty and the sentence of death by hanging.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) said,
“The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith.
“This one case is not just about one execution. We have been able to expose the system instead of just letting one man disappear, like so many other Christians have in the past.
“This is defiance. They want to say they will carry out what they say they will do.”
A growing number of nations have been calling for Nadarkhani’s immediate release, including nearly ninety members of Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the European Union, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Mexico. There is also a move to tweet for Yousef which has already reached over 400,000 people in at least 157 countries.
It is only a matter of time to see what the Iranian courts and government will do with Nadarkhani and whether or not they will execute him or bow to international pressure.
What I want all of you to understand is that this is the religion of peace that wants to live in harmony here in the United States alongside Christians, Jews and other religions. The Iranian treatment of Nadarkhani also coincides with Sharia law which is becoming a hot topic in many states and courts in the United States.
While many claim that Christianity is the most intolerant religion in the world because we believe that only those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be saved, Islam is even more intolerant in that they take legal action against those that turn away from Islam and sentence them to death. In Christianity, we pray for them and try to witness to them to bring the back, but we don’t go after them like Muslims do.
The way that Muslims are taking over more of America, and the support they continually receive from the Obama administration coupled with the speed at which Christians are losing their rights, it may only be a few more years down the road that we will see cases like Nadarkhani’s here in our own country.