In both Iran and Pakistan, important victories have been won in the conflict between Christian faith and Islamic persecution. In Iran, after three years in prison awaiting execution for the “crime” of converting to Christianity, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been freed. In Pakistan, a young girl wrongly accused of burning pages of the Koran has been released from prison and the Muslim cleric who planted false evidence has been arrested.
According to a report from FoxNews.com, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) — a watchdog group which has long championed Nadarkhani’s cause — announced over the weekend that Nadarkani has been released from his imprisonment after his charges were “lowered to evangelizing to Muslims, which carried a three-year sentence.” Since the 32-year-old Nadarkhani had already spent three years of his life in prison awaiting execution, he was released for “time served.”
Nadakhani was charged with “apostasy” — leaving the Islamic religion — on the basis of his conversion to Christianity. But the primary reason he became the victim of the animosity of the Islamic Republic of Iran was his service as the pastor of a 400-member house church movement: He was arrested in 2009 when he was trying to officially register the church with the government. After his arrest, Nadarkhani was taken before a judge and commanded to either renounce Christianity or face the death penalty. When he did not submit, he was sentenced to death in 2010.
When Iran faced international outrage over its intention to execute a Christian for his faith, the regime sought to sow confusion regarding the case. As reported previously for The New American, Pastor Nadarkhani not only faced a sentence of death for his beliefs, but the Iranian regime spread false accusations of rape and “Zionism” against him in an attempt to distract the Western media from the real reason for his plight. In some circles, those efforts almost worked:
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