Prominent evangelical leaders whose advocacy efforts helped make Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani into an international poster face for religious freedom are rejoicing over his recent release from prison but are now asking Christians to stay vigilant in supporting the rights of persecuted religious minorities worldwide. The leader of the largest evangelical group in the U.S. says Christians should "pray and press for more outcomes like this."
In a statement on Monday, the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches in the United States, welcomed the encouraging news about Nadarkhani. NAE President Leith Anderson said he is praying for similar results in other countries.
"We are relieved for Pastor Nadarkhani, and pleased with this good decision of the Iranian government," said Anderson. "We watch as laws are increasingly being used by governments against religious minorities, and we pray and press for more outcomes like this." more >>
Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor who captured the hearts of millions as he stood firm in his faith while facing execution, has been acquitted of apostasy.
Two organizations that have closely been monitoring the case and have sources in Iran reported Saturday that Nadarkhani, who went on trial early Saturday, has been released from prison and is at home with his family.
"Thank you to everyone that has supported me with your prayers," Nadarkhani said, according to Present Truth Ministries. more >>
Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been imprisoned in Iran for his faith since 2009, and a New York City deacon has suggested that the persecuted pastor serves as the epitome of a faithful Christian.
In an email interview with The Christian Post, Deacon Greg Kandra of the Diocese of the borough of Brooklyn said he admires Nadarkhani's faith and courage. The Iranian evangelical pastor has repeatedly refused to recant his Christian faith in exchange for freedom from prison and a death sentence.
"[His faith is] both inspiring and humbling – and I wonder how many of us in the West, confronting something similar, could be so steadfast," Kandra said. more >>
Last week the American Jewish Committee (AJC), a Jewish advocacy group, urged Iran's Non-Alignment Movement summit to address the plight of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been imprisoned for over 1,000 days due to his Christian faith.
Nadarkhani's plight was not addressed at the summit, and Jordan Sekulow, executive council of the American Center for Law and Justice, said the summit's failure to do so is "no surprise."
"The summit served as a platform for Iran to gain international support during tough sanctions levied against it by many western countries. In trying to bolster its relationships with the leaders of countries such as North Korea, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and Sudan, the regime shied far away from any discussions that might bring embarrassment or shame for Iran," Sekulow told The Christian Post via email. more >>
Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012
Jailed Iranian pastor Behnam Irani is "already facing death" after being denied proper medical care, which reportedly goes against what prison officials had promised.
An update on his condition was provided by Worthy News, who contacted Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the pastor's Church of Iran congregation. According to Khandjani, Pastor Irani was still suffering in jail, and his situation was getting worse. more >>
In his most recent court summons, Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has once again been ordered to appear in court on Sept. 8 to face the "charges brought against him."
The evasive reference to Nadarkhani's internationally disputed apostasy charge comes as "no surprise" to Jordan Sekulow, executive council for the American Center for Law and Justice, who has been following Nadarkhani's case from the beginning.
"Iran has repeatedly attempted to confuse the international community by alleging that Pastor Youcef is nothing more than a common criminal. If Iran can succeed in painting Pastor Youcef as the common criminal, the world will stop crying out for his release," Sekulow told The Christian Post via emailed statement on Aug. 16. more >>