Christian mission organization Present Truth Ministries has planned an international fasting and prayer vigil for April 11, 2012, in honor of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's 35th birthday. This is the third birthday Nadarkhani has spent in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith.
Jason DeMars, founder of Present Truth Ministries, has called on supporters to pray on April 11 for Nadarkhani's wisdom, strength, peace, and release from prison.
"The most powerful action we can take as Christians is to pray. The Bible says, 'The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.' We can use our voices to speak against this injustice, we can work with various advocacy groups and make political statements and we need to do that," DeMars told The Christian Post via email. more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) reported Monday that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, although imprisoned in Iran, was able to see his son on the young boy's birthday.
Nadarkhani's son was able to visit his father in prison on April 2. This comes as a special treat for Nadarkhani as well, who will celebrate his 35th birthday after being imprisoned for for two and a half years.
"Not only does this mean that Pastor Youcef is still alive, but it is a precious reminder of what we are fighting for – freedom for a loving father, a devoted husband, a caring pastor, and a devout follower of Christ," commented the ACLJ in a press release. more >>
Despite the Iranian government's ongoing crackdown of Christians living in the primarily Islamic country, the number of Muslims converting to become Christians is growing at an explosive rate, according to the persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA.
There is even talk of witnessing a Christian revival, especially among young people living in the country, say Open Doors ministry workers in the Middle East.
A house church movement within Iran is part of that revival and has triggered "many secret meetings." The growth in the number of Christians is happening in all regions, but mostly in larger cities, say Open Doors workers in the region. more >>
In a rare crackdown on a concentrated area, Iranian authorities have arrested Christians living in the country's third largest city in what is seen as a tactic to discourage Muslims and converts to Christianity from attending official churches.
Since last month officials have arrested about 12 Christian converts in Isfahan, 340 kilometers (211 miles) south of Tehran. Authorities have arrested leaders and members of churches meeting in buildings, as well as some from underground churches, according to Mohabat News.
The targeted arrests started on Feb. 22, when intelligence officers arrested approximately seven Christians at their homes between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Mohabat reported. Authorities raided their homes and confiscated valuables, including Bibles, computers, identification and other documents, and in one case even pictures decorating walls. more >>
An Iranian envoy has denied an execution order was issued for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, but revealed a list of charges against the evangelical Christian that allegedly make him guilty of "offending Islam."
The envoy's denial was prompted by human rights investigator Ahmed Shaheed, who on Monday openly condemned Iran's imprisonment of Nadarkhani in a 36-page report, presented to several U.N. representatives at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to Tiffany Barrans of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who was present at Monday's council, Shaheed encouraged the Iranian authorities to "reassess the cases of all those listed in [his] report and to reconsider the aforementioned cases presented here today." He specifically mentioned Nadarkhani, saying "Pastor Yousef [sic] Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death for apostasy..." more >>
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been at the forefront of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's court case, and the group's many endeavors, namely its "Tweet for Youcef" campaign and congressional petition, have seen substantial results.
Those who sign up for the "Tweet for Youcef" campaign allow the ACLJ to use their Twitter accounts to post a daily Nadarkhani update, which includes the number of days Nadarkhani has been imprisoned, facts about his court case, and a link back to the ACLJ's Nadarkhani information page.
Since the campaign began in mid-February, it has gained a substantial following, now reaching 1.1 million Twitter users per day in 89 percent of the world's nations. more >>