Friday, December 16, 2011

Iran threatens churches as support increases for imprisoned pastor

Pastor Youcef and his family
Photo: Present Truth Ministries
The situation of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani – who remains on death row in Iran for his faith – is gaining increased international attention, reports The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

The Mexican Senate is the latest international body to take a stand for Pastor Youcef, stating that it “condemns the death sentence handed down to Yousef Nadarkhani for religious reasons” (for more on Pastor Youcef, click here).

Canada has also made statements calling for Pastor Youcef’s release. In addition, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Council for the European Union have released statements condemning Pastor Youcef’s conviction and execution sentence. The European Parliament also passed a resolution calling for Pastor Youcef’s release.

ACLJ appreciates the willingness of the international community, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, to bring attention to Pastor Youcef’s plight, and urges international Muslim leaders (none of whom have spoken out) to call for Pastor Youcef’s unconditional release.

Yet, as these and other nations and international organizations increase the pressure on Iran to release Pastor Youcef, Iran is renewing its efforts to persecute Christians.

The Minster of Intelligence of Iran recently called house churches a threat to youth in Iran and stated the regime was preparing to crack down on these churches. A similar crackdown occurred right around Christmas last year, and it appears that Iran is preparing more raids again this year (for more on last year’s crack down, click here).

This news is not only disturbing for Pastor Youcef, the pastor of a Christian house church who awaits final determination on his fate by Iran’s Supreme Leader, but for hundreds of other Christian converts in Iran.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Youcef. Pray for continued international attention. Ask the Lord to bless, encourage, and strengthen Christians throughout Iran.

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