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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Be a Voice for Youcef Nadarkhani

Please sign the Petition! 
Please Pray for his release and his safety and that of his family.
Sign petition here 
Every Nation is welcome to sign this Petition!

Pastor Youcef remains under a death sentence in Iran for his Christian faith.

Urge Congress to Call for Pastor Youcef's ReleasePastor Youcef is still alive today because people the world over have taken a stand, calling for his freedom.
Now it is time for Congress to speak with one voice urging the Iranian regime to overturn Pastor Youcef's death sentence and immediately release him.
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and the Iranian court continue to delay their final decision on Pastor Youcef's fate – leaving him illegally imprisoned in Iran, separated from his church, his wife, and his two sons. Today (Feb 20th,2012) marks the 861st day of Pastor Youcef's illegal detention.
The ACLJ has been diligently working with Pastor Youcef's attorney in Iran to secure his release. We know that it is absolutely critical in saving Pastor Youcef's life that his story continue to be told.
International pressure continues to help keep Pastor Youcef alive. If a large majority of Congress supports this new bipartisan resolution, it could have a significant impact on pressuring Iran for Pastor Youcef's release.
We must urge every Member of Congress to support this effort. Take action.
We have also seen tremendous success with our Tweet for Youcef campaign. Each day updates on Pastor Youcef are reaching more than 305,000 twitter accounts in over 180 countries, including in the heart of Iran.
I cannot stress enough how absolutely critical this effort is in saving Pastor Youcef's life.
Thank you for your willingness to join the ACLJ in taking a stand for Pastor Youcef and the many Christians facing persecution worldwide that his story represents.
Jay Sekulow-ACLJ Chief Counsel
P.S. The fight to save this Christian pastor's life depends on people around the world speaking up for him, being his voice. Please forward this critical message and use the Facebook "Like" buttons.

You Can Help

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
(Hebrews 13:3)
The apostle Paul writes to the Hebrews commanding that they remember the believers that are in bonds.  This is not just an historical message, as there are many in prison today for the sake of the Gospel.
youceftina3 How You Can HelpHow can we remember them?  You can do this first and foremost by praying for them daily. The greatest power we have on earth is prayer. God works mightily and powerfully through the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous. Pray for their strength to overcome the pressure put on them to turn away from Jesus Christ. Pray that they accomplish the purpose of God in their lives through their bonds.   God is sovereign and has a purpose for everything. He has often used the imprisonment of believers to bring others to salvation and redemption. Finally, pray for their release and deliverance the chains of prison.
You can also give financially to support the work and spread the gospel in these countries. To find out more about what we do to help believers visit our Ministry page.
You can help them by writing to government officials, both in your own country and the country that the believers are from. Simply write that you appreciate that their government allows freedom of religion and that you have heard that such and such a person is in prison for being a Christian and that you would request that they look into this matter and take action.
Your Congressmen and MP’s will ask you what you would like them to do. In the US ask them to push this issue with the State Department. In other countries request that they call in the Iranian Ambassador and ask him about this case, Islamic Human Rights and whether Iran truly follows the human rights charter they signed at the UN.
Those from the United States please contact your Congressman by going to and typing in your zip code. Then contact them either by phone or by email.
Those from Canada contact your MP at
If you are from the United Kingdom go to
You can also contact your UN ambassador by going to

Please write a letter to brother Youcef by going to and under What You Can Do click on “write an encouraging letter” then follow the prompts.
You can also contact the following by email or Fax the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, + 98 21 774 2228;  the President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Fax: + 98 21 390 1999, requesting the release and remission of all charges against Pastors Youcef Nadarkhani, Behnam Irani and other prisoners of conscience in Iran.
You can also help by spreading the word to others about persecuted believers. Share information on Facebook, via email, Twitter, however you communicate with others.
Guidelines for writing to prisoners:
International Business Times reports:
Iran has issued what could be the final execution order for Youcef Nadarkhani, the Christian pastor who was found guilty of renouncing Islam.

Nadarkhani has been waiting in limbo for this verdict for months. After turning down four separate chances to convert to Islam to save his life, Iranian officials delayed their sentencing, leaving the pastor to await his fate inside a cell in Iran's Gilan province. But now, Nadarkhani could be executed within days.

"They are threatening to execute a pastor who is, in my opinion, totally innocent," said U.S. Representative Joseph Pitts (R. - PA), who is sponsoring a congressional resolution to call for Nadarkhani's freedom.

"He's facing the threat of execution on false charges just because of his religious belief. He's willing to face the hangman's noose over this."

On Monday, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an international Christian and human rights organization, discovered that Nadarkhani's "life is in imminent danger" and that "the situation has not been this dire" since the organization first learned of his arrest. While that first report did not go into specifics, the organization believes it has confirmed the execution order and that, at least as of Tuesday, Nadarkhani was still alive.

"Iran's legal system is not like any legal system in the world. [The order] is still being kept secret. Even his legal team might not find out about the execution until the body is delivered to the family," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ.

Crisis of Faith
The pastor, who once led a small congregation of about 400 worshipers in the northwest part of the country, was originally arrested in 2009 for apostasy, the crime of abandoning one's faith. Although apostasy is not a crime under Iran's official legal code, it is punishable by death according to Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwas and religious decrees, thereby bringing Nadarkhani's trial through Iran's special Revolutionary Court.
Under Iranian law, anyone born to Muslim parents is a Muslim. Nadarkhani claimed in his defense that he never accepted the Islamic faith and that he became a Christian before 15, the age of religious maturity in Iran. And while Christianity is a protected religion under Iran's constitution, Nadarkhani was also charged with converting other Muslims to Christianity through his evangelism, which is a crime.

A year after his arrest Nadarkhani, was "convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion of the prophesy of Mohammad, at the age of 19," according to a court ruling from December, 2010. That's when the first death sentence was handed out. After many attempts to get the pastor to repent, the case eventually made it to the Supreme Court and then to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is still the final judge.

If the order goes through, it will be the first time that anyone has been officially hanged for apostasy in Iran in over 20 years.
(However, the legal system allows Iran to publish charges after a criminal has been executed, meaning that the court can mask an apostasy execution after the fact by changing the conviction. Iran has already made claims that Nadarkhani was arrested for "security-related crimes" like Zionism and spying -- claims which court documents refuted but were made nonetheless.)

Final Plea
Along with Pitts, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Rep. Keith Ellison (D. - Minn), the White House, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the European Union have also condemned Iran for breaking with the Universal Declaration of Human rights, of which Iran is a signatory.
But these official censures may be too little too late. Iran's execution orders are kept private, so the details are unclear and the execution order could be carried out at any time.
In Iran, those sentenced to death generally don't wait long for execution. Alireza Molla-Soltani, a teenager convicted of the murder of "Iran's strongest man," was sentenced to death on Aug. 20, 2011, denied appeal on Sept. 11, and then hanged on Sept. 21. Thus, Nadarkhani could be hanged in a matter of days.
"There are grave concerns that the death sentence could be carried out at any time without prior notification and that the authorities will merely announce it later, a practice that is not uncommon in Iran," activist group Christian Solidarity Worldwide stated.
If the execution is held publicly, it will have to be approved by Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani. But if it's done in private, which most hangings in Iran are, it may not be known about until days or weeks after it occurs, the ACLJ points out.
Still, Pitts and Sekulow believe that if enough international attention on the issue is brought quickly to the fore, the pressure will be enough change the minds of Iranian leadership, at least for the time being.
"It's not there's no hope, because Iran knows it's being watched," said Sekulow. "The only hope for [Nadarkhani] right now is that one of the ayatollahs steps in." [Because of the secrecy surrounding the case,] "we won't know who stepped in or how, but it will still be a victory."
"I hope people will pray for him and for the Iranian authorities and that the right thing will be done. It's the only thing that some of us can do," said Pitts. 

Charlotte Baptist Examiner  Wayne Hobbs reporting

As we begin this Lent, it is imperative that we remember and honor the reason for this blessed season.  Indeed, Lent serves as a reminder that we, like our Lord Jesus, should be willing to make sacrifices. 
At this very moment, an Iranian Christian pastor name Youcef Nadarkhani stands as a sobering reminder that our faith and freedom come to us through a heavy price.  Pastor Nadarkhani awaits a pending death sentence in Iran simply because he is a Christian amidst a Moslem dominated judicial system. 
The Christian Post reported this story when they were contacted by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), detailing trumped up charges of “apostasy” leveled against the pastor.   In 2009, an Iranian court claimed that Nadarkhani was converted to Christianity, after having been a Moslem first – a crime in the Islamic world that carries a death sentence. 
According to some sources, Nadarkhani was never a Moslem, which would mean the charges are false. 
Just hours ago, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Iranian court has indeed issued the order for the pastor’s death by hanging.  Nadarkhani was arrested and charged with apostasy among other charges, when he tried to register a home based church in Iran back in October of 2009. 
The Jerusalem Post article went on to say that  –
“Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel for the Washington-based American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), said on Wednesday, “We are hearing reports from our contacts in Iran that the execution orders for Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani may have been issued.”
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.
The ACLJ has closely monitored the case and has previously translated Iranian legal documents.
Sekulow added, “It is unclear whether Pastor Youcef would have a right of appeal from the execution order. We know that the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, must approve publicly held executions, but only a small percentage of executions are held in public – most executions in Iran are conducted in secret.”
There has been a dramatic increase of executions in the Islamic Republic over the last month, Sekulow said.
US President Barack Obama, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and the governments of Germany, Britain and France, have called on the Iranian government to release Nadarkhani.
Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) drafted a resolution in Congress demanding the immediate release of Nadarkhani and that the apostasy charge be immediately expunged from the record.” (Jerusalem Post)
The website for Present Truth Ministries posted this letter written by Pastor Nadarkhani to members of his church in 2010 (which I provide in part – to see the entire letter click here)
“In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers.
Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement.
For I know well that you will be rewarded; as it’s stated: blessed is the one who has faith, for what has been said to him by God, will be carried out.
As we believe, heaven and earth will fade but his word will still remain.
Dear beloved ones, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few verses, although you might know them, So that in everything, you give more effort than the past, both to prove your election, and for the sake of Gospel that is to be preached to the entire world as well.
I know that not all of us are granted to keep this word, but to those who are granted this power and this revelation, I announce the same as Jude, earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
We are passing by special and sensitive days.They are days that for an alert and awake believer can be days of spiritual growth and progress. Because for him, more than any other time there is the possibility to compare his faith with the word of God, have God’s promises in mind, and survey his faith.
Therefore he (the true believer) does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering.
Because the believer knows he will rejoice in his glory.
Dears, the “ judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Therefore those who are enduring burdens by the will of God, commit their souls to the faithful Creator. Promises that he has given us, are unique and precious. As we’ve heard he has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”  (Part of the letter from Pastor Nadarkhani, written sometime between June and December 2010)
According to a FOX NEWS article, sometime last November, Iran’s authorities and members of the Iranian Secret Service attempted to convert Nadarkhani to Islam by giving him a book entitled “Message of the Two Eras”.  The book claims that Christianity is fraudulent and Islam is superior. 
The article also stated that –
“ obtained 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.
This isn’t the first time that we have seen this strategy used in the Iranian jail system,” said attorney Tiffany Barrans, the international legal director for the American Center for Law and Justice.
Barrans questioned whether this signaled the ayatollah's willingness to give Nadarkhani another chance, or rather "another way to trap him to allow the regime to continue to punish him or have documented evidence of blasphemy against Islam.”
Barrans, who said she has been in frequent contact with Nadarkhani’s attorneys, said he has been advised by family members, members of the church and lawyers to remain silent, out of fear that the Iranian government may try to use his statements against him, a strategy she said is commonly employed by the regime.”  (FOX NEWS article)
Pastor Nadarkhani is a husband and father of two children. 
This Lent season, I am asking every believer reading this article, to make 3 sacrifices for Youcef (Yusef) Nadarkhani –
    1. Pray for his immediate release and safe return to his wife, children, and his church.
    2. Pray that through his ordeal, other Moslems are led to Christ.
    3. Please sign Rep. Joe Pitts’ resolution (petition) demanding Youcef’s release and exoneration.  To sign the petition, please  Click Here !
If the Iranian judiciary carries out the execution order, brother Youcef will be hanged.
Please act quickly, time is of the essence and your Christian brother Youcef needs your help now.  May our sacrifice be great enough so that Youcef Nadarkhani will not have to make the ultimate sacrifice – in Jesus’ Name, I do pray!
Please also see and post on the Facebook page dedicated to Pastor Nadarkhani.
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