Pastor's Fate Rests in the Hands of Iran's Ayatollah

By:  James Heiser
11/02/2011
       
Pastor's Fate Rests in the Hands of Iran's Ayatollah

After initially claiming it would not execute a minister for converting from Islam to Christianity, the Iranian government is — in the words of one analyst — engaging in a “variety of tactics in an effort to neutralize a situation that has called into question its flaunted commitment to religious freedom.”

In an article (“Deny, Deceive, Discredit: Iranians Try Range of Tactics to Resolve Apostasy Case”) CNSNews writer Patrick Goodenough observes that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction — and looming execution — for "apostasy" from Islam to Christianity led to an avalanche of letters of support pouring into Iran’s diplomatic missions. However, according to Goodenough, the Iranian government has attempted to sow confusion regarding Nadarkhani’s case, by spreading disinformation regarding the actual charges leveled against him:

Nadarkhani, who embraced Christianity aged 19, was sentenced to death late last year for apostasy. Last July the Supreme Court considering his appeal ordered the sentencing court to reexamine whether he had been a practicing Muslim at the time of conversion. “If it can be proved that he was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out,” the ruling stated.

Back before the lower court in his home province of Gilan, Nadarkhani was asked repeatedly to renounce his faith, and refused.

After initially claiming it would not execute a minister for converting from Islam to Christianity, the Iranian government is — in the words of one analyst — engaging in a “variety of tactics in an effort to neutralize a situation that has called into question its flaunted commitment to religious freedom.”

In an article (“Deny, Deceive, Discredit: Iranians Try Range of Tactics to Resolve Apostasy Case”) CNSNews writer Patrick Goodenough observes that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s (pictured) conviction — and looming execution — for "apostasy" from Islam to Christianity led to an avalanche of letters of support pouring into Iran’s diplomatic missions. However, according to Goodenough, the Iranian government has attempted to sow confusion regarding Nadarkhani’s case, by spreading disinformation regarding the actual charges leveled against him:

Nadarkhani, who embraced Christianity aged 19, was sentenced to death late last year for apostasy. Last July the Supreme Court considering his appeal ordered the sentencing court to reexamine whether he had been a practicing Muslim at the time of conversion. “If it can be proved that he was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out,” the ruling stated.

Back before the lower court in his home province of Gilan, Nadarkhani was asked repeatedly to renounce his faith, and refused.

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