- (Courtesy of ACLJ)
Naghmeh Abedini may be reconsidering risking arrest in front of the White House in order to raise awareness about the imprisonment of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini. According to the American Center for Law & Justice, she has come to the conclusion that the effort might not be in the best interest of her two young children.
The ACLJ, which represents Naghmeh Abedini and the couple's two children in the U.S., shared the update with The Christian Post in an email on Tuesday. The law group noted that it is not involved with the planned prayer event at the White House on March 8, which is being organized by the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who has often staged such prayer events for religious freedom.
Mahoney did not return phone calls by The Christian Post concerning Naghmeh Abedini's participation at the time of press.
"The ACLJ is and has been supportive of all law abiding efforts to call attention to the plight and to secure the freedom of American Pastor Saeed Abedini. That includes prayer rallies and public events held in Washington and around the country. While we understand there are leaders of organizations who are compelled to follow their conscience and engage in peaceful civil disobedience that violates the law, the ACLJ is not in a position to support or endorse such efforts," the law group told CP.
"The ACLJ will continue to exercise every available channel and opportunity, here in the U.S. and globally, to bring Pastor Saeed home. We continue to urge President Obama and the State Department to fully engage this issue. Every innocent American deserves the full support of their government, especially those who suffer for their faith."
The March 8 event is aimed at raising awareness for pastor Abedini, who is currently serving eight years in prison in Iran for his Christian faith. Naghmeh has been actively campaigning for his release, and has spoken before Congress, urging President Barack Obama to make her husband's case a top priority.
The ACLJ has led an international campaign for the pastor's release. It has also reported on Abedini's treatment in Iran, including his recent transfer to the infamous Rajai Shahr prison, where he is being held in the violent criminal ward and has experienced threats to his life.
The U.S. citizen, who converted to Christianity at 20 years of age and has traveled back and forth to Iran for Christian work, was arrested in July 2012 while working on an orphanage project and was accused of endangering national security by Iranian officials.
"Iran has kept Saeed imprisoned because he believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross for forgiveness of sin and to reconcile humanity to God," Naghmeh has said.
While Obama has spoken over the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about Pastor Abedini's release, both Naghmeh and the ACLJ have said that the Obama administration has largely abandoned the Christian minister, and is calling on the U.S. president to do more.