By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian charged with leaving Islam, has received a local trial courts final verdict, according to sources close to his legal team, and may now be executed for leaving Islam.
Jodran Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said he was informed on Monday by the pastor's legal team that the final execution order had been issued. At this point, said Sekulow, the pastor could be executed without the legal team's knowledge.
The White House issued a pointed statement on Thursday, strongly condemning the reports and renewed calls for Iranian authorities to release the pastor.
"This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran's international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values," stated a release by the White House. "The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution-a fundamental and universal human right. "
Mark Toner, spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State, released a similar statement on Thursday.
"We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani's conviction and call for his immediate release," read the statement.
Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial in September 2011 at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs and later refused to recognize Muhammad as his savior.
Mohammad Dadkhah, attorney for Nadarkhani, told CNN in October that the court has asked Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, the highest religious leader in Iran, for his input. At the time, the move was seen as unusual by the pastor's legal team.
Nadarkhani's case has become the cause célèbre for a number of Christian and legal organizations, including the ACLJ. From small churches to large organizations, Nadarkhani's case has galvanized American Christians.
Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that monitors and attempts to assist with persecuted and minority churches around the world, issued a statement on Thursday that they have seen posts for Nadarkhani to the groups Facebook page grow over the last few days.
But the issue has not been solely spearheaded by Christian organization - Muslim organizations have also been vocal about condemning Iran.
"These types of cases, especially around apostasy, are too frequent occurrences in the Muslim world and as a Muslim, I am appalled," said Harris Zafar, national spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. "To do this in the name of Islam, I know that this isn't Islam. It is a violation of human rights and it is a violation of Islam."
Zafar, whose organization is considered more liberal than other Islamic communities, cited scripture to make his point. "Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve," reads the Quran 18:29.
The ACLJ was asked by the pastor's lawyers in 2011 to help publicize Nadarkhani's case, according to Sekulow. Since that time, Sekulow has been in somewhat regular contact with the pastor's legal team and the ACLJ have organized a Twitter campaign called "Tweet for Youcef."
Eighty-nine members of Congress signed a letter condemning Iran for their treatment of Nadarkhani and one congressman, Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pennsylvania, issued a House resolution that if passed would stand as a condemnation from the entire House of Representatives.
Citing the Iranian constitution, the resolution "condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran and its continued violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
Among the seven co-sponsors of the resolution is Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the first Muslim in Congress.
Though Sekulow said it was a strong sign that the White House and State Department have issued statements, he did tread cautiously when speaking about the future for this case and the volatility in Iran right now.
According to Sekulow, Nadarkhani's attorney's last confirmed their client was alive on Tuesday and are currently working to see if they are able to appeal any further.
"Based on all of the work (Nadarkhani's lawyers) have ever done before, they really felt this execution order is really serious," said Sekulow."His legal team is still trying to figure out if there are any legal routes left, but execution orders being issued is basically when people end up disappearing."
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen. Youcef is in our prayers.
recognize Muhammad as his savior? That is how I know that this story is bogus...That is not one of the pillars of Islam, and no way they would get you to say that. Cnn you really are in the dark when it comes to Iran. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.
Religion. The number one killer of innocent people in the history of the entire planet.
lack of religion is the number one killer of innocent people in the history of mankind.
you can see it in today's world.
as more and more people become irreligious, the ghastly amount of people killed in wars goes up and up.
world wars, jews being fried in ovens, machines that can kill millions (of INNOCENT civilians) with the push of a button.
all modern phenomenon of the post religion world.
Actually, I think that distinction belongs to Communism.
The biggest impediment to Faith is organized religion.
Chris: the number one killer of humans is not religion. It is PEOPLE. Religion may be the official reason for many wars and killings, but the REAL reason is almost always greed, power, intolerance, xenophobia, or some other nasty emotion...
It just sounds better to say "let's kill the infidels!" than "let's kill those people so we can have their stuff!" - the first is easier to justify, morally, to the masses, but the second is really the truth.
Jesus teaches us to love and show mercy to all, that god will judge and reward accordingly, not man. If this mohammed guy teaches his followers that They should rid the world of those who dont believe in him, then what power does he really have? My God loves all and through his son Jesus Christ wants us all to return to him, for those who dont , he will handle and he alone.
Jesus is dead. Duh.
your god could have forgiven without a blood sacrifice but chose not to
What Mohammed guy??
It seems that Islamic believers are very religious and devout followers of their faith. When Jesus returns again, I think many will convert instantly to Him and his teachings. There will be many faiths, especially the Jews that will come to him. I think we will all be surprised by how quickly many hearts will change and even more so, when God forgives them.
Where will Jesus live when he comes back?
AMONG CHRISTIANS = who consider him to be God, something he would find extremely repulsive as a Jew.
AMONG MUSLIMS = who correctly identify him as a messenger of God. and keep the laws and commandments as he himself did as a jew.
Where do you get this pride from? As if you have the authority to condemn others for their beliefs? Have you even read a Bible? You know nothing of Christ! You state “AMONG CHRISTIANS = who consider him to be God, something he would find extremely repulsive as a Jew.” Well, he didn’t see himself as a Jew, in fact many of his miracles go against Judaism, for instance working on the Sabbath, forgiving sins, denouncing the Law of Moses in regards to divorce. Therefore “as a Jew” is an invalid statement on your part, because Christ wanted his own people, this is why he picked apostles. Moreover, Jesus said “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Way and The Truth and The Life; no man comes to my Father but by me alone." John 14:6... Jesus makes it clear that he is God, not a prophet. If he made that statement without being God, surely an educated-scripture man such as himself would know that it would be an unforgivable, blasphemes sin. Moreover, to insult the Christian Bible is to insult the Quran as we are all both Abrahamic Religions.
And if you're still struggling with pride issues, read your own book...
[17:37] "You shall not walk proudly on earth – you cannot bore through the earth, nor can you be as tall as the mountains." Muhammad hated pride.
Now may Allah/Yahweh/God Bless you.
Monotheism is a important foundation of the jewish religion. Those who subscribe partners to God are committing a MAJOR SIN. So Jesus would surely be repulsed to find a people WORSHIPING HIM AS GOD. A people he did not know when he was on earth. The only people he knew were monotheistic in nature. They worshiped the HOLY FATHER, and NO ONE but the HOLY FATHER.
Its like he comes to earth and finds a NEW RELIGION has been created in his name and a NEW GOD. He would be aghast, surely (metaphorically speaking of course, because sitting in heaven he probably already knows whats going on earth).
So what would he do? If he joins the CHRISTIANS, he will have to reform them back to the original Abrahamic faith. And that would be weird, because all of a sudden, Christianity would now look like what Muslims have been practicing all along!!!
I suppose that is what he would do, yes, mingle among the christians and not the muslims. Because joining the Muslims would leave the CHRISTIANS steeped in polytheism. And surely Jesus would not leave a people who love him so much to continue committing such a major sin against God, no less.
Muslims don't need Jesus, they already follow the same religion he did when he was around, its Christians who really need his help in getting the very basics of their religion right.
Jesus is dead. Nobody is coming back from the dead. Can we move on now?
He'd hang out with us Christians .. it's the Christian thing to do. We are naturally better than the others. The Islamic are murderers, the atheists are amoral, the Jews made a mess out of His coming the first time, The Asians are waiting for Buddha and the Indians are waiting for the White Buffalo ... so there you have it. So it's the Christians: American Gothic. Ma and Pa and the pitchfork. Clean livin (on the farm) hard workin (on the farm) (John Denver: thank God I'm a country boy!!) Not nasty and citified like the rest of you carousers and drunks. (we drink out liquor in the kitchen and play reels on the fiddle). We are the GOOD ones (we know) and the rest of you ... well .. just hope He does not come back now because YOU are in a heap-a–trouble. (gonna talk with the judge)
Dear Muslim sisters and brothers,
Your imams and ayatollahs have been conning you.
The real Mohammed:
Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.
This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.
And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.
The global Sunni-Shiite blood feud (e.g. Syria) and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.
And if I uttered those words in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, I would be executed. And yet my tax money supports three of these four countries.
Today, the absurdity of Islam significantly overshadows the absurdity of today's other religions.
you forgot to mention:
– WORLD WAR TWO – where your christian maternal and ex-christian paternal grandparents fought each other killing roughly 50 million people in the process.
– JEWISH HOLOCAUST – where your ex-christian grandpa Hitler roasted six million jews in custom-built ovens.
– COMMUNISM and the ensuing 20 million to 50 million people that have died, a direct result of christianity's failure to offer a viable alternative that resulted in christian Europe inventing communism and all those dead people thereon.
Compared to non-Muslims, Muslims are doing just fine, no need to give us advice on our state of affairs!
Moslems are very good at pointing out the faults of other people to deflect their own very, very serious problems. They are about to kill, or have killed someone for leaving an abusive religion. This is not the first time and I believe wouldn't be the last if they get their way. They want to kill everyone who doesn't believe like them. I have my beef with the Christians, but Moslems have no right to say don't look at me, look at them. Abusive people always blame others for their actions.
Christians and Muslims and Jews are all fools, unable to see the truth. There is nothing to fear but each other because of your collective ignorance.
"Moslems are very good at pointing out the faults of other people to deflect their own very, very serious problems."
So are Christians
Our War on Terror and Aggression:
An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)
The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count:
As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:
The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century
■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "
and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.
and more recently
1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured
1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh
2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured
3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf
4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.
5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.
6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.
7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.
8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.
9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.
10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror
11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.
12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.
13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,
14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.
15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.
16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.
17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.
18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.
19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011
20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011
21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.
22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) – Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.
23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "
Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:
-Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf
– Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,
– Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.
– Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)
– North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.
– Northern Ireland is finally at peace.
– The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!
– – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
– Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski
– Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.
– Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.
– Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
– The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.
The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). His trial began on 3 June 2011.
– the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.
– Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011
– Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011
You can sign a petition to free Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani here:
I think he wants to be a martyr, so let him.
May the Creator of the universe open the eyes and hearts of the Muslim people!
Love and Light for all beings.
Matthew was an ignorant primitive.
Thats it nuke em.
Killing innocents is wrong. Don't be evil.
Send just lying over and offer it as an exchange. After all, it's always braying about how holy and worthy it is, right? Two birds with one stone: we get rid of just lying and get back a man who deserves safe harbor.
just sayin has no guts (or education), he/she would never stand up if it really mattered.
The pastor is my Christian brother and were he free you would grow to hate him as much as you hate me. What you suggest is not possible. It troubles me deeply that this man faces such persecution. No matter what happens I am convinced that God will strengthen his own in love at such a time. Tom,Tom is mistaken and assumes self righteousness on my part, nothing could be farther from the Truth. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus that I have any hope.
Hate to dissappoint you just sayin, but I don't hate you. Do I think you are a looney? Yes.
You would be wrong and yes your posts are hate read them sometime.
It is the story of Muslim prosecution of others in Middle East
There is nothing new-Obeying the messenger of Allah orders and instructions
Killing and demolishing anything that is not Muslim or related to Islam
I bet Muslims have nt killed as many people in 1,000 years combined as your grandparents did just in one World War in the past 100 years! Food for thought.
Here is food for thought: Religion is Evil. Let's move on to something better and more peaceful.
I do not hear Sean Stone here. That doshbaghead is defending a totalitarian and murderous region of Iran.
I loves me some eggs.
He must be very excited and happy that he is about to meet Jesus and enter the eternal bliss of Heaven! All his friends and family must be just really happy about that too – certainly they are going to miss him for a while, but he's soon going to be in the place all Christians dream of. Just a happy occasion all around,
What? He's not happy? Neither are his friends and family? Hmmmmmmm . . . almost like subconsciously they don't believe it, or at least have a lot of subconscious doubt. If they truly believed what they think they believe, they would be happy for him.
. Remember one thing you contemptable, hateful piece of dog waste. Once their done killing the Christians,
theye will be coming next for the atheists and anyone else who resists conversion. My only hope is that they kill eachother first.
You obviously have no understanding about religion or spirituality for that matter. Hopefully you do a little research and stop making ASSumptions.
When they're done killing the Xtians, they're coming for those who use "their" instead of "they're".
hey sigmund freud, Pastor Yousef will be happier, when he meets Jesus, than any time he can ever recall, but our GOD did not put it into any man, that he should want to die, even when he is saved, as i am sure that pastor Naderkhani and his family and friends are!!!! All Christians are waiting for Jesus to call us up to the clouds, we are not "waiting" to die as you would suggest. But most of us, as Yousef, are willing to die for our Savior, as He did for the whole world! And by whole world, i mean islamists, buddists,atheists and every other person who still denies Him.. HE LOVES US ALL!!
If there is a God, he clearly doesn't love us or care about us. He is not personally involved. He is kind of busy.
lucy: free people do not need a savior
How many people are still detained to GITMO? Hello? Pot, kettle?
Yes, terrorists who preach killing and murder
He must be very excited that he is about to meet his maker, without any further delay.
His maker will ask him "how did you go from believing I (God) am One, to believing that I am Three?"
His judge could be that sharia judge from PA. Did you see where he let a muslim guy go after assualting an atheist dressed up like a zombie mohammed? Mark Martin is his name. You can contact his office at 717-766-4575. This muslim judge is violating United States law. This muslim crap is getting out of hand. I stand with the atheist on this one.
I haven't been on the blog lately. Did cnn already cover this story or do Gilgoff and Prothero have a problem with a story that might portray their pet religion in a bad light?
Either way, you atheists ought to be screaming bloody murder on this one!
This judge, Mark Martin, needs to be removed from the bench. Where do these people come from, anyway?
Everyone has a fundamental right to chose their faith. This is atrocious and unconscionable.
Free Pastor Naderkhani.
The govt of Iran might disagree. Not all nations buy into the rights of man and that everyone has the freedom of religion. In the grand scheme of history, freedom of religion is kind of new as far as the govt goes.
Unless you live in Iran or Mechanicsburgistan, PA.
Dear Pastor, You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. May God's protective hand be with you.
Keith, if you live in Pennsyltucky, you get what you deserve.
No, worse-I'm in Michigan.
keith: don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out
Iran Business is no one Business; Learn stop preach democracy and start practice democracy.
They should just make him eat at Denny's every day for a month. That is punishment enough.
no need to chop the poor fellow's head off.
should just ship him off to christiandom.
Anybody who wants to preach roman paganism (christianity) to muslims in islamic lands, should be put on a plane and sent off to the USA, where they can easily make a handy living on the christian speaking circuit badmouthing islam.
oooo yea honey. please listen to BHO and ship this cute iranian boy to us here in alabama. nice christian boy like that, we girls would looooooooove to get aur hands on one. we r tired of marrying moslem immigrants. jesus save us. please convert more iranians to jesus and ship them over to alabama.
You are sick person like Mohammad, your role model
Why would anyone bad mouth islam?
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.