- Published on Saturday, 01 October 2011 06:49
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1593
Do we need proof that Islam is barbaric? The version in Iran certainly is - and if you follow what happens in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and many other Islamic countries, they all believe and act out the same thing. That is, that apostasy is punishable by death. No wonder they have few converts to other religions. The recent case in Iran of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani underlines the fact that strict Islam has a total lack of tolerance for other religions - he is under a sentence of death for converting to Christianity and refusing to convert back. (UK Telegraph) One of the more stupid things about this is that you can never know what a person really thinks - you can stop his actions, but never stop him thinking his own thoughts.
But the Iranians want to also stop him converting others to his way of thinking. You have to wonder if they want everyone to believe in the same religion so they can control them better - after all, Iran is a theocracy with ultimate decision-making resting in the ayatollahs. The power of religions is that they promise to control your life even after you are dead - but if you belong to the "wrong" religion, that threat won't work.
So why do they think converts should be killed? Simple. Their holy book, the Qu'ran tells them to. Put another way, Sharia law - which really means the law of the Qu'ran - says so. Like Christians, some Muslims interpret their holy book differently - killing apostates is not usual in Indonesia, which is a very large Muslim country. Even Pakistan and similar countries handle it differently - they allow the people to take "justice" into their own hands then are lenient in prosecuting murder for apostasy.
The law in Iran does not specifically ban apostasy but what is illegal is refusing to be a Muslim when it was the religion of your birth. The only defence that Youcef has is that he never practiced the Muslim faith but because he is Iranian the prosecution is saying that Islam is part of his heritage. No-one has been executed in Iran for apostasy for 20 years - the difference here is that Youcef refuses to recant. He won't lie to save his life. I guess he thinks that if he dies he'll go straight to heaven as a martyr. Too bad he won't get the 70 virgins (or does that depend on the religion of the person doing the killing? Maybe Christians are wrong? Maybe all martyrs get 70 virgins - I wonder what Joan of Arc got? 70 male virgins?) I know what I'd do - lie, get released then leave the country. The Government would be happy, the ayatollahs would be happy and I'd be happy. But then I'm pragmatic. I'm not the hero type - but this guy is.
16 October 2011
Iran shows no religious mercy
The Rev. Youcef Nadarkhani may soon be the latest victim of the medieval mullahs of Iran. The Protestant evangelical pastor from Rasht may be on his way to hanging for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.
He was first arrested in 2006 on trumped up charges of apostasy from Islam and proselytizing. Released from prison, he was rearrested in 2009 after he protested a decision of his children's school to force students to read from the Qur'an.
Nadarkhani's mistake was believing the Iranian Constitution guarantees freedom to practice religion other than Islam. He was sentenced to death for apostasy last year.
Various delays and appeals give the appearance of a judicial system that is interested in justice, but closer examination proves otherwise with the most recent opinion including a provision that his death sentence would be annulled if he recanted his faith. So much for the concept that there is no coercion in religion in Iran.
We should not be surprised, as British Foreign Secretary William Hague pointed out, this demonstrates yet again the "Iranian regime's continued unwillingness to abide by its constitutional and international obligations to respect religious freedom."
If this follows the pattern of other cases, like the two hikers who were recently released after years in prison and a merry-go-round of charges and challenges in the Iranian courts, Pastor Nadarkhani will eventually be released, but no doubt traumatized and forced to keep a low profile while the Iranian government struts its oh-so-calculated claim of mercy on the world stage.
If it goes otherwise, Pastor Nadarkhani will join that unknown number of Iranian citizens who have tried to make their leaders live up to their claims of a free society only to be tried to death.
By Emily Soloff, associate director for interreligious and intergroup relations, American Jewish Committee - Chicago Tribune
The word from Iran is that Yousef Nadarkhani will not be released, or hanged, for another year. He has been in prison since October 2009, yet his lawyers said they were told to not expect any movement on his case for another year. An unnamed source said: "The lawyers speak to the judges' secretaries and hear things. Rasht is not a big city, so it is easy to know what is happening."
The head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, has reportedly ordered the presiding judge over the trial in Rasht to do nothing for one year. The court in Rasht, 150 miles northwest of Tehran, was expected to pronounce a verdict on Nadarkhani's appeal in October. Instead of pronouncing a verdict, the court sent the Christian's case to the nation's Islamic authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, to make a ruling. Sources said the court's long silence bodes ill.
Authorities have also continued to pressure Nadarkhani to recant his faith while in prison. In September they gave him Islamic literature aimed at discrediting the Bible, according to sources, and instructed him to read it. The court reportedly has been told to use whatever means necessary to compel Nadarkhani to recant his faith.
The anonymous Christian who spoke to Compass said he didn't believe that Nadarkhani would be executed soon, but he said authorities were tense about his case, indicating that nothing was certain.
The Supreme Court determined that his death sentence could be annulled if he recanted his faith but he refused to do so.
I guess he wants to die a martyr. If it was me, I'd say whatever they wanted, then leave Iran then recant and say what I really thought. The only other reason to stay would be what they might do to family. In that case, I'd still do what they say, leave the country and keep quiet. You can do more alive than dead.
The other thought on this case is that it is clear that democracy and justice in Iran is a farce. The country is obviously run by the Ayatollahs. It's a theocracy, run by people claiming to be privy to what a god wants - their interpretation of their god.
A trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, ordering Yousef Nadarkhani to be put to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, according to sources close to the pastor and his legal team.
Supporters fear he may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years. It is unclear whether Nadarkhani can appeal the execution order.
It is also feared that Nadarkhani will be executed in retaliation as Iran endures crippling sanctions and international pressure in response to its nuclear agenda and rogue rhetoric. The number of executions in Iran has increased significantly in the last month.
“This is defiance,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)said “They want to say they will carry out what they say they will do.”
The order to execute Nadarkhani came only days after lawmakers in Congress supported a resolution sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Joseph Pitts denouncing the apostasy charge and calling for his immediate release. More on Fox news
Update - Sept 8, 2012
Youcef Nadarkhani, 35, was released from prison on Saturday and reunited with his family after a court in the northern city of Rasht, the capital of Iran's Gilan province, acquitted him of apostasy, which carried the death sentence under Iran's Sharia law.
"Nadarkhani was acquitted of apostasy but instead charged with acting against the national security and therefore sentenced to three years in jail," a reliable source in Rasht, who asked not to be named for fear of government reprisal, told the Guardian. "But because he had already served three years in prison, he was allowed to go home."
It is believed Nadarkhani's lawyer argued in court that Iran was a signatory to international treaties requiring it to respect freedom of religion.
According to Amnesty International, Nadarkhani was arrested because he "protested against his child being given mandatory lessons on Islam in school".
In April, another pastor, Farshid Fathi, 33, became the latest victim of state persecution of Christian converts after being sentenced to six years in prison by a revolutionary court, Iran Christian News Agency reported.
Other religious minorities in Iran have been facing restrictions, including Bahá'ís. Seven leaders of the Bahá'í community are serving 20-year jail sentences. Bahá'ís in Iran are deprived of rights, such as education or owning businesses, and are often persecuted for their beliefs.
Is Iran starting to feel the heat? Do they care just a little bit that the world thinks they are barbarians?