Friday, December 30, 2011

Iranian officials hopeful Christians will forget about Pastor Nadarkhani

Please remember Pastor Youcef in your prayers.
Photo: Present Truth Ministries   
Iranian Christians thank us for our continued prayer for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose death sentence for apostasy (i.e. leaving Islam) was upheld in provincial court hearings in late September 2011, reports Middle East Concern. No written verdict has yet been delivered following those hearings.

It has recently been reported that the Head of the Judiciary had ordered the presiding judge at the provincial court to continue delaying the issuing of the written verdict. Pastor Youcef is to remain detained, and pressure to recant his faith in Jesus is to continue. Recanting his faith would lead to his immediate release.

Youcef is a pastor within the Full Gospel Church of Iran denomination in the northern city of Rasht. He has been detained in prison since October 2009. In September 2010 the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province found him guilty of apostasy and sentenced him to death - a verdict upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2011.

The Supreme Court also ordered the original tribunal to clarify whether or not Youcef was ever a practicing Muslim as an adult, and to give him further opportunity to recant his faith in Jesus. He refused to do so during the September 2011 hearings. The judge's verbal ruling acknowledged that Youcef had not been a practicing Muslim as an adult but upheld the death sentence because he was from Muslim ancestry and therefore guilty of apostasy (for more on Pastor Youcef, click here).

According to Present Truth Ministries, the order was designed to cause the international community, specifically Christians, to forget about Youcef’s case.

"Once we forget about him, then they are free to execute him," a spokesperson from Present Truth Ministries told Mission Network News.

Please don’t forget Pastor Youcef! 
  • Pray that Youcef's death sentence will be revoked and his conviction overturned.
  • Please pray that Youcef, his wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort, presence and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon. 
  • Pray that Christians throughout Iran will not be intimidated but will know the Lord's enabling and guidance. 
  • Pray that all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.

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