A new trial date has reportedly been set for Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor on death row, for Sept. 8.
According to Present Truth Ministries, which has been closely monitoring the pastor's case, Nadarkhani will presumably be tried for crimes against security. "We assume by implication that this means the charges of apostasy have been dropped since the new charges have been issued, but we have no confirmation of that," the ministry said Thursday.
The 35-year-old pastor from Rasht, Iran, has captured the hearts of Christians worldwide as he continues to stand firm in his Christian faith despite facing the death penalty. more >>
Authorities in Iran this week ordered the closure of a church in the capital, Tehran, amid a government campaign to crack down on the few recognized churches offering Farsi-speaking services, according to a human rights group.
The order came from Iran's Revolutionary Guard's Intelligence branch on Tuesday (June 5). The Revolutionary Guard, also known as Sepah, is known for its military aggression.
"Unfortunately, it is now official – the church in Janat-Abad [district] was ordered to shut down," said Monsour Borji, an Iranian Christian and advocacy officer for rights initiative Article 18. "If no reverse decision is made, this Sunday [June 10] no meeting will be held." more >>
The worldwide collapse of Christianity is set to take place due to a purported Gospel of Barnabas, claims an Iranian newspaper. But Christians have dismissed the claims, describing them as "laughable."The text was discovered 12 years ago in an anti-smuggling sting in Turkey, and Iranian news outlet Basij claims it says Jesus was never crucified and that he was not the Son of God.The paper also argues that in the text Jesus himself predicts the coming of Muhammad.The text was written in Syriac on animal hide, and Basij argues that it was written in the 5th or 6th centuries.Christian scholars, however, have dismissed the text, rebuking it as a fake and saying that interest in the discovery was sparked only after the Vatican made an official request to review the text back in February.Basij also claims that Chapter 41 of the text says that Islam is the final and righteous religion.
"God has hidden himself as Archangel Michael ran them (Adam and Eve) out of heaven, (and) when Adam turned, he noticed that at the top of the gateway to heaven, it was written 'La elah ela Alla, Mohamad rasool Allah (Allah is the only God and Mohamad his prophet),'" the Iranian news outlet claims."The discovery of the original Barnabas Bible will now undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world," the report claims.St. Barnabas was one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. He traveled alongside Saint Paul undertaking missionary journeys and was a prominent leader in the formative days of the Church.Phil Lawler, editor at Catholic World News and author of six books has described the report as a "laughable Iranian challenge to Christianity.""If the document was written in the 5th of 6th century, it couldn't very well have been written by someone who was traveling with St. Paul about 400 years earlier," Lawler wrote."It must have been written by someone who was claiming to represent St. Barnabas. Should we accept that claim? Another good question."
Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has remained for supporters a shining example of a faith-filled Christian standing firm in the face of persecution. According to Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Nadarkhani exemplifies a true Christian who is willing to sacrifice everything in this life on earth for his faith.
Nadarkhani, a married father of two, was arrested in Oct. 2009 for protesting the mandatory teaching of Islam at his children's schools. He was then charged with apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, charges for which an execution order was issued in Feb. 2012. He currently remains in Iranian prison awaiting further news on his execution order. Sekulow and the nonprofit ACLJ have been closely monitoring the evangelical pastor's case.
The Iranian courts have asked Nadarkhani to recant his Christian faith in exchange for freedom numerous times. Each time, he has refused. more >>
A court in an underdeveloped southwestern province of Iran has sentenced four men to death by hanging for committing "sodomy," according to a recent report by the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA).
The men, Javid Akbari, Saadat Arefi, Vahid Akbari, and Houshmand Akbari come from the remote town of Choram in Iran's southwestern Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province and could be hung within days, the HRANA report suggests.
The Christian Post reached out to Human Rights Watch to discuss the case and although the organization has not yet been able to independently verify the sentencing, Faraz Sanei, a Middle East and North Africa Division researcher at HRW, told CP that HRANA's claims are probable under the current climate in the country. more >>
No matter their religion, few lawyers would take on the responsibility of legally defending Christians in Iran, a country that is majority Muslim, with a confusing legal system that treads a fine line between courthouse law and faith-based Shariah law.
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is one of the few daring human rights attorneys in Iran. Out of the top human rights attorneys in the country, including those who have founded the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, Dadkhah is one of the few who has managed to stay in the country and out of jail.
Aside from defending numerous political prisoners throughout the years, Dadkhah has also committed himself to defending those who are religiously persecuted, including Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose high-profile case has attracted worldwide attention. more >>