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Iranian Christian pastor to be hanged ‘imminently’

By on Thursday, 23 February 2012

Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two, was sentenced to death in 2009

Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two, was sentenced to death in 2009

Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, is to be hanged “imminently”, an American human rights group is reporting.

The American Center for Law and Justice has been informed by contacts inside the Islamic republic that an execution order has been issued for Mr Nadarkhani, who has refused to recant his Christian faith and return to Islam.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice, told American news site msnbc.com yesterday evening that “At this point, we can confirm that he is still alive,” but that “We know that the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, must approve publicly held executions, but only a small percentage of executions are held in public — most executions in Iran are conducted in secret,” he said. “We are calling on the Iranian government to release the pastor immediately.”

Mr Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two, was arrested and sentenced to death in Iran’s northern city of Rasht in 2009.

An appeals court upheld his sentence last year after he refused to reconvert to Islam, after he had been given three chances to recant. A member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran, Mr Nadarkhani was never formally a Muslim but came from a Muslim background.

The sentence has been widely condemned around the world, by among others US president Barack Obama, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. In October the Iranian state media claimed that Nadarkhani is facing the death sentence for rape and extortion, not for apostasy and evangelism.

  • Honeybadger

    Why on earth is this not on the secular news????? Or, indeed, the sufferings of the Coptic Church in Egypt at the hands of Islamic extremists????

    For heaven’s sake!

  • Jere

    There is but one word to describe this regime and religion — uncivilized. Simply put, the leaders are animals, barbarians who belong in caves eating scraps left by their dogs.

  • Charles Martel

    apostasy, not apostacy

  • Regina Coeli

    If it was a homosexual we wouldn’t be short of coverage, the ‘Cathedral’ would make sure of that.

  • hartwood

    Oh,the peace and love of Islam! “By their fruits you shall know them.”

  • Tom

    The leadership of Iran are filthy people. They arent even human. 

  • Mutantslive

    because his high & mighty must be friends to all, except faithful adherents of Christianity.

  • http://twitter.com/GetToMass John 6:54

    Where’s Obama

  • Pauletta

    My prayers are with you, Youcef!!!   God will be there with you & you will ascend into Heaven as a martyr for your faith in God.  Amen!

  • Sszorin

    …which God ? Which one ? The protestant evangelical one of the predestination?  The prophet of the protestants, M. Luther decreed that there is no human free will. God makes men do good and Satan makes men do evil. He used an analogy of a rider and a horse; God and Satan ride man/men in turn. From his, and his evangelical co-believers in faith, perspective the responsibility in his [pastor's] death lies with the chief jockey ‘ in the sky ‘. He should not have ridden Mr. Nadarkhani  on the Islamic republic of Iran’s patch.               

  • Spitarat

    Sszorin, It would appear that you do not believe in God AND that you harbor disdain for those who do. While Martin Luther may have believed in predestination, neither the bible nor the vast majority of christians adhere to such a doctrine. If Youcef is to be martyred by the followers of the antichrist, it will be to his ultimate benefit; but it will be a wrong so fundamental that it must be condemned, even by unbelievers such as yourself. Don’t you agree?

  • Sszorin

    Some perspective on the foolish proceedings of the human circus please. Jewish communists of the Soviet Russia / Soviet Union hanged / murdered thousands and thousands of the christian clerics and the nuns and monks and millions upon millions of the christian lay people. And nobody, nobody of those in the real power or influence “in the free world’ did anything about it. And worse, practically nobody talks about it, or even worse, just remembers it. So this one little hanging, if it comes to it, we pray not, amounts practically to nothing. [..I know, for Mr. Nadarkhani it is a very big big deal].]. If it were not involving ‘ the navel of the world’-Israel’s interests, we would be hearing nothing about this pastor and his hanging. That is the truth. Since we seem to be in the pre-attack on Iran phase with the corresponding softening of the target by the black propaganda and psychological warfare, this story is starting to appear on the pages of the “western” mass media. But not too much, and there are no protests, threats or screaming because our devils do not want Iran to cancel the hanging. They really want the pastor dead, as dead he would be more useful as an another tool to club Iran in a war of words that proceeds the shooting and bombing campaign.
    Please see the reply to Tom, below. It is for you also.

  • Sszorin

    You insult the lesser of the God’s creatures, the animals.

  • Redtrekrun

    Why isn’t our President, Obama, stepping in and taking a stand on this issue – he certainly could apologize for the burning of the Koran!!  God will deal with the US if we keep taking God out of our country –  I pray the Lord will spare this Pastor’s life and that he will be a testimony to ALL –  Jesus died that ALL may be saved

  • Parasum

    According to this, a good deal is happening behind the scenes:

    http://aclj.org/RadioPlayer/pastor-youcef-faces-new-immenent-danger-execution/player#

  • Parasum

    Predestination is based on the explicit teaching of the NT. Why would the CC teach a (non-Calvinist) form of predestinsation, if it were not Catholic teaching ?

    Predestination is not the same thing as any particular form of it. Luther was absolutely right to believe in it, because it is in the NT. 

  • Spitarat

    While you are correct that the word “predestined” exists in the NT, it assuredly does not refer to the Calvinistic notion of each individual having had his final destination determined. What was predestined was the sacrifice of Jesus and the resulting method of salvation. I should have been more precise.

  • Parasum

    They are not uncivilised – they merely have different values from us. In no way does that make them savages, animals, not human, filthy, etc. Not so long ago, the Church did exactly the same. If that can be defended – it often has been – so can this, by those who practice it. Killing apostates has a lot to be said for it: that is why Jews & Christians have done it, that is why Muslims still do it. Which is why Moses, Elijah, Joshua, Josiah & other OT Saints are all recorded as killing apostates or unbelievers or idolaters or misbelievers. Why are OT Saints like Moses & Elijah not treated as “uncivilised” or as “barbarians” ? Moses makes the Iranian authorities look like beginners. If moral & theological judgements & standards are never relative, but always absolutely valid or invalid, then there is a problem: Moses is allowed to be right in killing thousands, but if the Iranian authorities kill even one misbeliever, that is wrong. Why ?

    *If* one shares the assumptions of the Iranian authorities, in no way is that unjust behaviour – the injustice would be to let apostates live. But as most Christians no longer think that killing heretics, apostates & unbelievers is an act of high virtue, they may have difficulty understanding an attitude their ancestors took for granted; secularists & atheists can’t be expected to understand, but Christians should be able to.

    Why people who claim that Catholicism is the only true Faith cannot see the logic behind the persecution of Christians in Iran, Egypt, & elsewhere, is incomprehensible. One cannot deplore relativism one moment, then criticise Iran for not being relativist enough to free a Christian (whose Christianity is not even Catholic; which makes it wrong even by Catholic standards). Iran should be praised for its absolute refusal to be influenced by relativism, & its determination to execute someone whose belief is false by both Muslim *and Catholic* standards. Islam is not relativist – it already lives by the absolutism that the
    Pope implies is preferable to relativism. Episodes like the persecution
    of the Copts, or of Pastor Nadarkhani, are the results of rejecting
    relativism.

    Of course, none of that helps Pastor Nadarkhani. It’s just that the Iranian position is (a) one that can be argued for; (b) one that Christians should have no difficulty understanding.

  • Georgepolcar

    All we hear about in the secular news is about accidental burning of books called the Quran, and as a result violent riots, murders, etc take place.  Where is the worldwide outrage supporting and rescuing this Christian Pastor who is about to be brutally executed?  May the Lord Richly Bless Youcef Nadarkhani and his family!!!

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

    THE BEST THING FOR TRUE CHRISTIANS (THOSE WHO BELONG TO CHRIST THE LORD) IS TO

    FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE  OF THE LORD HIMSELF;  HE OUR GOD, THE GOD OF ALL PEOPLE

    PRAYED FOR HIS KILLERS AND ASKED US TO DO THE SAME.

    WE SHOULD PRAY IN TRUTH FOR MUSLIMS WHO KILL US AND OTHER PEOPLE LIKE US.

    CHRIST THE LORD IS THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE AND NOT A VICIOUS ONE.

    IF OUR LEADERS, STARTING WITH OUR POPE HIMSELF, IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE LORD

    ASK THEIR FOLLOWERS TO DO THIS, ALL THE WORLD WILL BE SAVED. IT IS FOR THIS THAT

    THE LORD CAME TO OUR HUMAN FAMILY: “I CAME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE…..IN

    ABUNDANCE.”

    ON THE CONTRARY IF OUR LEADERS KEEPING PLAYING  BY THEIR CLEVERNESS, THE

    WORLD WILL BE LOST AND THEY WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

    Thomas Poovathinkal

  • believer

    > one that Christians should have no difficulty understanding.<Our Lord, Jesus Christ was a pacifist, who taught pacifism – love your enemy. You will have enemies, but you are only to use the sword of the Word. Christ rebuked Peter, James and John for using, or threatening, violence. (Peter's nickname was 'The Rock' and James and John were 'The Sons of Thunder)
    It was only after Constantine that the church started to deal violently with its enemies.

  • believer

    How did that happen!

  • believer

    > one that Christians should have no difficulty understanding.<
    Our Lord, Jesus Christ, taught pacifism – ' Love your enemies'. A Christian will have enemies, but he is only to use the sword of the Word. Our Lord rebuked Peter, James and John for using, or threatening, violence. (Peter was nicknamed 'The Rock' and James and John were called 'The Sons of Thunder') It was only after Constantine that the church began to use violence against its enemies, and against those who would not accept its teachings.

  • Trockfield

    Yeh, the secular news, the anti-religious (or is it anti-Christian, no, anti-Muslim, oh I don’t know, I get so confused…) news.

  • Sszorin

    I wanted to point out the protestant deformers nonsense of condemning the hanging of another deformer who, and his brethren in twisted beliefs, believe that there is no free will and responsibility and that “God made him do it” and “Satan makes them, Iranians, do it”. That would rule out pitying the pastor – well, again, God made him do it, to be provocative in the context of the religious laws of Iran –  and would also rule out condemning the Iranian authorities – they are not responsible, the devil makes them do it. 
    There is a christian and charitable and also practical way to help the man. The Catholic church has its people in Iran, even an official representative as far as I know. They should just go and explain to Iranians that “the protestants” are in fact theologically insane and that as a person with a defect of his reason the condemned individual is not responsible for his actions. The insanity plea and defense basically.

  • Charles Martel

    Brought to you by the ‘Religion of Peace’ ….

  • http://www.facebook.com/bencjcarter Benedict Carter

    May God strengthen, bless and keep this good and brave man and grant him the grace of final perseverance.

  • Brian A. Cook

    Secular liberals can point to burnings at the stake in medieval Europe and say, “brought to you by ‘the religion of love.’”

  • Brian A. Cook

     See my above reply to Charles Martel. 

  • Spitarat

    Amen

  • Bart_0117

    I do not know how far the evangelicals have diverted from the True Gospel (I am guessing quite far) but as it is still Christian, would it still not be inflamed by Martyrdom? How could these muslims who blew up towers and trains calling themselves martyrs not know that Martyrdom is what strengthens Christian Community? Unless you uproot it entirely at one stroke??
    Since no international figures have any authority on this matter (sadly), it seems there is yet another soul to pray for in urgency. May Youcef see the true Gospel before death and embrace his witness to the One True Faith. I truly pray for his safety and repose of his soul if he were to be executed.

  • Charles Martel

     My point, Brian, is not to score points off Islam, but off the rather dim liberal westerners who keep trumpeting that Islam is a Religion of Peace. George Bush was guilty of that, too. I don’t expect any better of Islam, but we should expect a little more understanding of its vile nature from our leaders.

  • Tcmulvihill

    You arenabsolutely right Charles and Brian should realise that burning at the stake took place in the medieval times, not the 21st century.

  • Charles Martel

    See my above reply to you.

  • Spitarat

    Bart, It sounds as if we’re brothers. I’d like to explore that. If you are interested in an email conversation, send a message to spitarat@aol.com.

  • Anonymous

    If, as the Christians believe, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is now with Jesus (in heaven),  why should they be grieving? They should be celebrating his good fortune at having got to be with Jesus. Incidentally, how did Nadarkhani get  an exemption from the Last Judgment? Did God ‘fasttrack’ his trial and admit him straight to heaven?

  • Spitarat

    As a Christian I would rejoice for Youcef to be in heaven (Although the bible doesn’t state clearly that he would go there upon his martyrdom, a parable told by Jesus implies that may be the case), however, I would lament the persecution of God’s people. It would be particularly sad for his family, but the bible does say “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake. For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:10).

  • Amkennedypayen

    This is a terrible situation. Surely someone….somewhere on this planet can help him !!!???

  • Merry

    Yes, we all must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is  our LORD and we, His creation, and there is a path from Him for each Christian that is meant to be followed. His command is to Go and preach the Gospel (Good News) and set the captives free from things that hold them. Like the 3 Hebrew men, God spared them by a miracle. Joseph in Egypt was spared by a miracle after a long time of hardships. Paul was spared many times over via miracles. Whether Paul died or whether he lived, he held fast to the LORD. The WORD (Bible) clearly states when it comes to these very things, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Jesus even spoke of the outcome of many of the disciples’ lives. Of course, we must pray for Youcef Nadarkhani, our dear brother in Christ. And then having done all, stand, and give God the glory.