Pastor told to return to Islam – or die
THERE have been numerous twists and turns in the case of Yousef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran for apostasy … or blasphemy … or a breach of security. It’s not clear which.
According to the latest news report, Nadarkhanihas been given Islamic literature and ordered to read it.
Although Nadarkhani was charged with blasphemy after his 2009 arrest, Iranian officials in October denied that the charge was blasphemy and instead claimed the charge was of a security nature. They even said he had run a brothel.
Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 after complaining that his son was being taught Islam in school. He eventually was sentenced to death. Earlier this year the Iranian Supreme Court upheld the death sentence but ordered a lower court to examine whether Nadarkhani was ever a Muslim – a fact essential to determine whether he left Islam for Christianity.
But that lower court in Rasht, Iran, found that although Nadarkhani was never a practicing Muslim:
He remains guilty of apostasy because he has Muslim ancestry.
In late September of this year, he was given four chances to recant his faith in court and refused each time. His case then was referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
During one of the court exchanges, Nadarkhani said:
Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?
The judge reportedly replied:
To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.
“I cannot,” Nadarkhani responded.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the BBC reports that British Conservative MP Mike Freer had first-hand experience of Islamic “tolerance” when he found himself trapped in a North Finchley mosque.
The Finchley and Golders Green MP, a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, had gone to the mosque on Friday to hold a constituency surgery. He said he was forced to wait for police behind a locked door after he was threatened by a group of men, one of whom called him a:
Jewish homosexual pig.
The trouble began after messages on the Muslims Against Crusades website (which appears to have stopped functioning properly this morning) urged supporters to target him, he said.
Mr Freer said a message posted ahead of the incident on the site made reference to Labour MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed while holding a surgery in east London last year.
It warned the attack on Mr Timms should serve as a “piercing reminder” to politicians that:
Their presence is no longer welcome in any Muslim area.
The message also stated that “as a member of the Conservative Party”, Mr Freer had:
The blood of thousands of Muslims on his hands.
Hat Tip: BarrieJohn (Freer report)