Iran’s government and security apparatus have ratcheted up the pressure on
Evangelical pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to convert to Islam or face execution, Fox
News reported on Saturday.
Youcef Nadarkhani, now 34, was arrested in
2009 for questioning the compulsory Islamic education of his children and for
seeking to register a home-based church. He was sentenced to death in
2010.RELATED:Iran: Christian pastor charged with rape, not apostasy
Iran’s security officials recently delivered a book on Islam to
Nadarkhani, Fox News said. He is in prison Rasht on the Caspian Sea
The Iranian officials told “him they would be back to discuss the
material and hear his opinion,” according to the report.
“sources close to the case.”
David Parsons, spokesman for the
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday the
new development is “very troubling.”
There need to be “three attempts to
make him convert to Islam before they can kill him,” Parsons said. He cited
Shari’a Islamic law as the basis for the threeattempts rule.
going through the motions” and “trying to do it in a very public way for the
Muslim world and maybe, in their mind, thinking they can placate the West. It is
outrageous,” said Parsons, who is a contributing editor to The Jerusalem Post
The case “should be an eye-opener for world leaders,”
he said. “They should know what Islam teaches in terms of ‘inferior religions’
like Judaism and Christianity.”
Fox News wrote that it secured “a digital
copy of the book given to Nadarkhani, a 300-page compilation entitled
Beshaarat-eh Ahdein, meaning ‘Message of the Two Eras,’ referring to the New and
Old Testaments. Through various narratives, the book claims Christianity is a
fabrication and attempts to establish the superiority of Islam.”
said it “needs to be a priority to hold the Iranian regime
Governments, even Muslim governments, should not be allowing
this. How can anyone find this acceptable this day?” Present Truth Ministries
has campaigned since 2009 for Nadarkhani’s release and works to help persecuted
Christians in the Middle East. “We cannot wait another moment, we have to
contact our elected officials,” the USbased organization urges on its website in
connection with Nadarkhani.
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an authority on
minority groups in the Islamic Republic of Iran, told the Post by phone from
Berlin on Sunday that the book given to Nadarkhani, Beshaarat-eh Ahdein, is
There is “no freedom of opinion or religion
in Iran,” he said. The Iranian regime has been closing newspapers and “there is
no freedom of conscience” in the Islamic Republic.
The book argues
against the Judaism and Christianity, as well as against Bahais and
Zoroastrians, Wahdat-Hagh, a senior fellow at the European Foundation for
Democracy in Brussels, wrote in a followup e-mail.
“The fact that Mr.
Nadarkhani was given this book makes clear that it does not deal with freedom of
conscience, which does not exist in Iran, rather it deals with propaganda...,”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader in Iran, has reacted
to pressure regarding Nadarkhani’s case, and Khamenei has the authority to
vacate the death penalty sentence against the pastor, Wahdat-Hagh
“This case shows that Iran does not seek dialogue with Christians,
rather it wants to convince Christians of the correctness of converting to
Islam,” he said.