Iranian Christian pastor Nadarkhani writes letter of thanks after release from prison

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By Perry Chiaramonte / Published September 21, 2012 /

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his family.
Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has spoken out in a letter of thanks to his supporters around the world after his release from the Iranian prison where he was held for three years for refusing to renounce his faith.

The carefully worded, approximately 600-word letter does not express any bitterness toward the regime that kept him in prison on charges that were not always clear. Nadarkhani, a married father, was freed one month shy of three years and cannot leave the country for at least another month under the terms of his release. The letter cites the groundswell of support from around the world, including diplomatic efforts by several countries and a Twitter campaign that involved more than a million people.

“I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause that I defend. I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart,” Nadarkhani said in the letter dated Sept. 8, the day he was released. It was written in his native Farsi and translated by Present Truth Ministries.

“Despite the fact that I have been found guilty of apostasy according to a certain reading of the Shariah, I am grateful that (God) gave the leaders of the country the wisdom to break that judgment taking into account other facts of that same Shariah,” he also wrote.

Click here to read Pastor Nadarkhani's full letter

Nadarkhani's plight began when he went to his sons' school to complain that educators were forcing lessons from the Koran on the boys, now 7 and 9. That led to his arrest for allegedly using his home as a place of worship and attempting to convert Muslims and ultimately his conviction by the Iranian Supreme Court. His release came when the court downgraded his crime to "evangelizing to Muslims" and let him out with what amounted to time served.

The campaign to win Nadarkhani's freedom was largely spearheaded by the American Center for Law and Justice, which tracked his court appearances throughout his incarceration.

"Pastor Youcef’s courage and faith is awe inspiring.  It is clear that regardless of whether Pastor Youcef ever received one letter of support of the thousands sent or heard one news report on the international outcry for his freedom while in prison, he felt the prayers and support of the entire international community," Tiffany Barrans, the center's international legal director, told

The organization also has spotlighted several other Christians who remain imprisoned in Iran for their faith

"We must continue to uplift and support those who remain imprisoned or persecuted for their faith," Barrans said. "Let us continue to cry out that Iran, and other violators of these human rights, uphold their international obligation to protect the innocent and honor freedom of religion."

posted by Matthew Schauki at 11/13/2012 07:32:00 AM 1 comments

"Religion" - A Short Film

Monday, November 05, 2012

posted by Matthew Schauki at 11/05/2012 02:53:00 AM 1 comments

The Sinai blasts and the Egyptian-Israeli relations

Friday, August 10, 2012

I don't understand what's up with those terrorists targeting Sinai for the last two years since the so-called Egyptian "revolution" started. I mean that's too much really... Blowing up the gas pipes to Israel, committing terror in Israel passing thru the Sinai to Eilat, and now killing Egyptian men at breakfast time in the middle of Ramadan.

Now the Muslim Brotherhood is actually blaming it on Israel!! What nonsense in the world is that? Israel actually warned weeks earlier about terrorists planning to attack and no one in Egypt cared to pay attention to the warnings!

Israel has always tried to help and be friendly but over more than thirty years of "peace" Egyptians never saw it as anything but an enemy.

I don't understand why Egyptians can't see that their real enemy is not Israel but that the enemy is right there in Egypt, calling itself the "Muslim Brotherhood." Egyptians need to wake up and see that their real enemy that has infiltrated their whole infrastructure and culture was, is, and will always be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

KSA has succeeded over the years to turn Egypt from one of the most accepting and liberal countries in the world into a hateful fundamentalist society.

I still personally support total friendly relations and cooperation with Israel to fight terrorism in the Sinai for Egypt's and Israel's mutual benefit. But whom am I talking to? Will anyone listen? I doubt.

posted by Matthew Schauki at 8/10/2012 12:57:00 AM 3 comments

أغنية موبينيل دايما مع بعض-Mobinil Ramadan song 2012

Friday, August 03, 2012

posted by Matthew Schauki at 8/03/2012 11:28:00 AM 0 comments

Emad El Dafrawy - conscientious objection declaration

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

posted by Matthew Schauki at 4/18/2012 06:52:00 AM 1 comments

Iran pastor, still alive, passes 900th day in jail

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Michael Foust |  Baptist Press

Yousef Nadarkhani
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani remains in jail -- alive, yes -- but having already passed his 900th day behind bars for being a Christian and still facing a possible execution.

Nadarkhani, whose first name also can be spelled "Youcef," was able to visit with a son on on the son's birthday Monday (April 2), according to the American Center for Law and Justice, which is closely monitoring the case. His 900th day in jail occurred in late March.

For weeks now, rumors have floated on Facebook and Twitter that he has been executed, with a picture of a body often accompanying the post. But that picture was taken well over a year ago of another person, and it's highly unlikely Iran would take a picture of Nadarkhani if he was executed, says Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

"We're able to confirm that he's alive pretty regularly, at least weekly," Sekulow told Baptist Press.

Often, Sekulow said, rumors of Nadarkhani's execution are easily dismissed, particularly if a rumor starts on the weekend. That's because the Iranian government shuts down around mid-Thursday and doesn't reopen again until Sunday in recognition of the Muslim calendar.

"They won't send out pictures [of Nadarkhani]," Sekulow said. "He is not someone who is on trial for being a spy -- those are the pictures of people we usually see. He is not one of those public executions."

Nadarkhani was sentenced to death in 2010 for converting from Islam to Christianity in a case that began in 2009.

The United States and the United Kingdom have spoken out publicly for Nadarkhani, pressuring Iran, and other countries are doing so too. Among those is Brazil, which unlike the U.S. and the U.K., has close ties to Iran. That gives Brazil leverage, said Sekulow, who visited Brazil earlier this year to discuss the case with Brazilian officials.

"Brazil has a working relationship with Iran on a daily basis," Sekulow said. "The Brazilian government has really taken this case -- senators, the executive branch, the people of Brazil. And it's such a key diplomatic partner for Iran."

In March, Iran acknowledged to the U.N. Human Rights Council -- meeting in Switzerland -- that Nadarkhani was charged with faith-based crimes. Specifically, Iran's human rights representative, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, said Nadarkhani was charged with: telling youth about Christ without their parents' permission, leading an illegal house church in his home, and offending Islam.

"He offended Islam by saying that Jesus was the only way to heaven," Sekulow said.

Sekulow urged the rest of the world to continue praying for Nadarkhani while also recognizing that the American view of courts and jails is meaningless in Iran.

"He has the death sentence hanging over his head, and the question now is: Does Iran try to push this to another trial -- try a new judicial process to stall the issue because of the international pressure? That's where we're focused now. We have gotten so much of the world's attention," Sekulow said. "I think we have to get past the goal of just keeping him alive, and figure out how to get him to be released."

Sekulow's group raised the alarm about Nadarkhani's case in February, fearing that an execution was imminent. That did not occur, but that does not mean that one was not scheduled, Sekulow said. Iran has a history, he said, of scheduling an execution to see if the information leaks.

"If it doesn't [leak], they may carry it out, and that's what happened the last time they did this."

Iran last carried out an execution for apostasy in 1990.

"He's not doing this to be some worldwide martyr that everyone knows about," Sekulow said. "He really is representing hundreds if not thousands of people who are in the same situation."

In September, Nadarkhani was given four chances to recant his faith in court and refused each time. His case then was referred to the ayatollah. The American Center for Law and Justice reported one of his court exchanges.

"Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?" Nadarkhani asked.

"To the religion of your ancestors, Islam," the judge reportedly replied.

"I cannot," the pastor responded.

posted by Matthew Schauki at 4/12/2012 05:15:00 PM 1 comments

Egyptian synagogues and the good old days of Egyptian Jews

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beautiful video with old pictures of Egyptian Jews and pictures of the amazing synagogues of Egypt.

posted by Matthew Schauki at 4/11/2012 10:59:00 PM 0 comments