The case of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the U.S. citizen currently serving an 8-year sentence in Iran for his Christian faith, is set to reach the U.S. House of Representatives this week. One lawyer is hailing the upcoming hearing as historic as it would shine a light on the abuse that the pastor and other Christians are facing.
"This is an historic moment," said American Center for Law and Justice Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow. "This is the moment the world truly becomes aware of Christian persecution in Muslim lands."
Sekulow will speak at the congressional hearing on Friday, and will not only petition for the release of the American pastor, but also expose the persecution many Christians face in the Muslim world.
"As we focus on Pastor Saeed, we will also address the problem of Christian persecution not just in Iran but also in Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations that have oppressed and displaced millions of Christians," said the chief counsel, whose organization is representing Abedini's wife and two children back in America.
"The ACLJ is fully engaged in the fight against persecution. As we fight, a group of generous donors has pledged to match every single dollar of donations for the next several weeks – up to one million dollars."
The ACLJ has been leading a petition for the release of Abedini, who has been imprisoned since July 2012. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran for "endangering national security," but the ACLJ says the pastor was only helping underground Christian churches in Iran and building an orphanage for children.
Nagmeh Abedini, his wife, shared in a passionate letter the hardships that her husband has faced:
"It has been 9 months since Saeed kissed the little foreheads of our children as he said his goodbyes early in the morning of June 22, 2012," the American mother wrote.
"It should grip all human beings at our heart's core, motivating us to do what is right, to stand up for someone whose human rights are being violated. While Saeed doesn't have a voice to sing to his children, we each have a voice for his freedom; we can make a difference," she added.
The Iranian-born pastor has apparently been beaten in prison and even pressured to give up his faith, though he has maintained that nothing will separate him from Christ.
Sekulow says that the U.S. government needs to do all they can to help the imprisoned pastor. The U.S. State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry have called for his release.
"His life is in jeopardy. He's suffering right now from internal bleeding. He's not getting the medical care he needs. We're working toward efforts to secure that," the ACLJ warned.