A 32-year-old Iranian who is a U.S. citizen and a Christian pastor is being held in prison in Iran, and is expected to face charges for rejecting Islam and preaching the gospel in his native country. Fox News reported that in September the Rev. Saeed Abedini, who lives in the United States with his American wife and two young children, “was making one of his frequent visits to see his parents and the rest of his family in Iran, his country of origin and where he spent many years as a Christian leader and community organizer developing Iran's underground home church communities for Christian converts.”
According to Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, on September 26 a group of men burst into his parents' home in Tehran, where Abedini was staying, hauling him off to jail and placing his parents and other family members under house arrest. Thus far Iranian authorities have been mum on Abedini's plight, but his wife said he has been confined to Evin Prison, which has a reputation for extreme brutality, and his life has been threatened.
“When he became a Christian, he became a criminal in his own country,” Naghmeh told Fox News. “His passion was to reach the people of Iran. He comes from a very close-knit family, and he loved evangelizing and passing out Bibles on the streets of Tehran. This was his passion.”
Naghmeh, who married Abedini in 2005 after making a trip to Iran, said that her husband became a Christian after training with a radical Muslim group to become a suicide bomber. She said that Abedini became very depressed as a result of the intense training and that “Christianity saved his life.”
Abedini ultimately became a leader in Iran's underground church, and before leaving the country, oversaw about 100 churches and 2,000 members in 30 Iranian cities. Naghmeh said her husband's role as a Christian leader drew the ire of Muslim authorities in the country. “They see the underground churches as a threat and they see Christianity as a tool from the West to undermine them,” she told Fox. “They think if the country becomes more Christian, they are no longer under Islamic authority. That's why it's a threat.”
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