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U.S. condemns Iranian pastor's conviction
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani shown in an Iranian prison.
September 29th, 2011
06:58 AM ET

U.S. condemns Iranian pastor's conviction

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The White House Thursday condemned the conviction of an Iranian pastor, who may be executed in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert from Christianity to Islam.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani "has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for people," a White House spokesman said in a statement. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency and breaches Iran's own international obligations."

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent advisory group appointed by the president and Congress to monitor religious freedom around the world, Wednesday expressed "deep concern" for Nadarkhani, the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran.

After four days of an appeals trial for apostasy, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs, the commission said. Chairman Leonard Leo said the pastor "is being asked to recant a faith he has always had. Once again, the Iranian regime has demonstrated that it practices hypocritical barbarian practices."

While the trial is closed to the press, Leo said the commission collects information from sources in Iran and around the world.

The commission's statement also called the trial a sham and said Iran is violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a party.

"A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities' utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens," the White House statement said. "We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion."

Nadarkhani was first sentenced to death in November 2010, the commission said, and in order to avoid the death penalty, he is being asked to recant his beliefs and convert to Islam. Leo said an apostasy trial is rare in Iran; the last occurred in 1990.

Iran's claim stems from the pastor's Muslim parents. According to Leo, the court needed to verify if Nadarkhani had ever been a Muslim. In order to be given what Iran claims is the opportunity to recant his beliefs, Nadarkhani must have never been a Muslim before the age of 15, Leo said.

Because he was given the opportunity during the four-day trial, it is apparent that the Iranian court found he was never a Muslim and therefore Nadarkhani could have converted.

According to a source close to the situation within the Commission on International Religious Freedom, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, would have to sign off on the execution. Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity, the source said such cases in Iran are difficult because of the lack of transparency in leaders' decision-making.

The source also said that in the past, political prisoners have had their prison time and punishment reduced by the Iranian government. Though they did not say that was guaranteed in this situation, the source indicated it was a possibility.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a right-leaning organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson, reported Wednesday night that Nadarkhani's death sentence had been overturned, meaning that the pastor would be receiving a lesser punishment. They sourced the claim to someone in Iran.

Those reports could not be independently verified by CNN. The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United Nations failed to comment on the ruling.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, said the outcry from Christians in America has been loud and sustained.

"American Christians, like never before, are engaged in this," Sekulow said. "This is evidence that Christians in America over the past decade have done a better job engaging in the persecution issue."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Iran

soundoff (2,425 Responses)
  1. Menwa

    This coming from a country that arrests people for supposed terroristic activity based on their religion, secrets them to prison's in foreign nations to torture confessions out of them. This coming from a country in which we pass laws banning the wearing of the hajib because we do not accept the Muslim. This coming from the country that condones the slaughter of Palestinians by the Jewish state while telling Palestinians to sit back and let the Jewish state take all their land and leave them in poverty or else. I know we are a hypocritical nation but come on, this is just too much.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Chuckles

      Ok, I can admit that the US can be hypocritical at times, but a) we haven't banned the hijab (that was France) and we've decried Israel as much as the palestinians. I think you and I can both agree that the Palestinians aren't exactly blameless in this conflict nor have they or their "allies" done anything to try and make peace. Instead they go to the UN and try to formally secure a spot as a nation even though they have none just for some political sideshow to try and force a peace. There are issues here that are a little more nuanced than what you clearly understand.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Fred1

      Then go live some where better

      September 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  2. Katie White

    Oh, I did not know that Iran was barbaric. (This is sarcasm in case you didn't already notice.)

    September 30, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  3. Zenichi-Maro

    Yes. Iran should be like the US and stop executing innocent people. Oh. Wait. Carry on, Iran.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • DA

      @Zenichi-Maro....what an idiotic and inaccurate statement to make!!! What kind of JERK are you??? What is YOUR personal beliefs were under attack? What would YOU do? It's easy for losers like you to make comments sitting on your behind and watching from the sidelines!! If you do not know about what you speak, then keep your BIG MOUTH SHUT!

      September 30, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Zenichi-Maro

      DA:

      First, you know nothing about me, so you would do well to cease and desist with your reactionary attack.

      Second, once your meds kick in, you'll no doubt see that I was making a subtle (I know, subtlty requires intelligence) and succinct (that means I used just a few words) point about the utter hypocrisy of the US government calling Iran barbaric for executing someone under questionable terms. See, if you'd stop hyperventillating and actually read what's been written, you'd see that no one is attacking anyone here...except you.

      What your issue is with my post obviously goes well beyond my meaning, so I don't take your tantrum personally, but you really do need to take a breath and think before you hit send.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Skegeeace

      At least in the case of the U.S. we try people by jury for CRIMES- you know, like murder? THEN we execute people. This man has done NOTHING wrong other than being a Christian in a country that hates Christians. Please do NOT insult him by comparing the two.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Zenichi-Maro

      SK: He broke Iranian law. We can (and I guarantee you DO) agree that the law in Iran is unjust and wrong, but you must concede my point here: In both instances, unjust laws are being used to punish innocent people for political reasons. Just because he's a Christian doesn't make him special in that regard. Sorry, not trying to offend, but I see a few folks going off the rails from my comment who obviously are not capable of either subtlty or distinction.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Zenichi

      You are completely right, these guys are getting all huffy because they really would rather live in a world where there are good guys and bad guys and we're the good guys. It could't possibly dawn on them that America would put a man on trial and convict him and sentence him to the death penalty on unsubstaniated evidence and recanted testimony. I'd say the only real difference is at least Iran is overt with their actions and have swift punishments, I think it's far crueler to hold someone for years, give them appeals, wheel them into court with the IV sticking in their arm and then go through with it anyways. Once we get rid of the death penalty, then and only then can we truly say we've evolved further than places like Iran, not before.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Skegeeace

      Nice try- which of these laws is unjust: 1) If you kill someone, you can be tried, found guilty, and executed. 2) If you are anything but Muslim, you can be tried, found guilty, and executed. As far as I know, the U.S. has NO "unjust" laws- unless you're saying murder is okay? Their "law" may be the law, but it's unjust- executing someone for murder is NOT an unjust law. If you don't agree with that, I'd be a little concerned for you. Surely you don't pretend that murderers are "victims of unjust laws" the same way this man is? Gimme a break!

      September 30, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • cecilia

      I was thinking the same thing, but I like the way you put it

      September 30, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Ske

      You're ignoring the fact that the US has killed innocent people and let killers walk free (O.J. Simpson anyone?) Yeah, our system is more "just" because we kill criminals because they killed someone and not for their religious convictions, but it's hardly just to have the death penalty in anycase. I think it's almost impossible to prove someone killed someone else completely 100% (Unless the person admits to it, and even then he/she might be lying to protect the real killer).

      September 30, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • cecilia

      to Zenichi-Maro It is almost as much fun to read the posts of the truly disturbed as it is rewarding to read a post such as yours. You do speak the truth and I applaud you for it.
      I can always tell when someone like you speaks the truth by the number of venomous posts that follow. We in America, do not understand some of the atrocities we have committed and still do in the name of patriotism, religion, or revenge – the death penality is not about the criminal it is about us and who we are as a Nation – once again, thanks for your insightful post

      September 30, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  4. Santa Claus

    Islam truly is a religion of peace and tolerance.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    What is exactly as bad as Islam?

    Answer: Our Western secularism (godlessness, profanity).

    When we consider ourselves as mere bodies without soul and designate the manifestations of life of our soul as pure appearances of the soulless matter, we are in high danger to corrupt totally. In fact a man without soul (that means a man, which denies that he has a soul) will behave like a beast (the Bible reports of a future completely soulless tyrant, which will emerge and behave very bad, thus he is called "The Beast".).

    It nearly amount to the same thing, whether someone denies the human soul or the invisible God. Both will lead to an absolutely godless behaviour. Instead of seeking for health for their injured souls, many today people try to abolish their soul and God. However, that is self-deceit and will not work. God and our soul are as real as the air, which we breathe.

    It is God, who wants to cure our souls (our souls are not in peace, because of the guilt, which we have accu-mulated by our evil deeds). Lead us get cured, instead of denying the Creator, who loves us and wants to cure us.

    Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and a person of the Holy Trinity, born by the virgin Mary, has borne our sins on the cross. Believe it and get baptized (infant baptism is valid and mustn't be repeated). By faith and baptism the power of Jesus death and resurrection is dedicated to you. At baptism your old man of sin dies and you resurrect together with Jesus (this is a spiritual mystery, but reality). God makes you indeed righteous through faith. You don't indeed get a ticket to heaven, but the capabilty to live The Christian Life or the Good Life. Through Jesus you become able to love God, the Almighty, and your neighbour (next-door neighbour, classmate, workmate, etc.). Start to prove that God has given you divine righteousness: Love God and your neighbour! The Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew 5-7) shows, what love means, in every detail.

    Practical Christianity: Read the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by pastor Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    Side effect of a Christian life: Everything, which you experience, is under God's control.

    There will be no more anxiety, but peace.

    September 30, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • William Demuth

      Ah, my favorite Christian Fascist returns!

      Can anyone else remember what happened the last time we had a German national railing about the evils of other peoples religions? Demonizing a whole race. Thats a bad enough end in some socities, but in the Fatherland it is just a means to a much worse end.

      Will we ever learn? German nationalism and religious intolerance cost us 40 million dead and 25 trillion dollars in damage in the last go round.

      Tell me Rainer, do you have a little tiny moustache?

      September 30, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @William Demuth

      You are under a delusion or you confuse two things.

      Of course, it was a crime the we (the Germans) have condemned and murdered the Jews (about 6 Million Jews). We have condemned a whole folk (the descendants of the ancient biblical Jacob). Hitler and the Nazis hated the nation of Israel and the single Israelites. They were not very concerned about the Jewish doctrine, but if someone was a born Jew (a blood realative of Jacob). The Nazis thought that the Jewish blood would polute the German blood. It was pure racism. They hated the Jewish race, but less the Jewish religion.

      I hate neither Arabs nor Turks nor other Muslims (whereby there are even Christian Arabs and Turks). I am not a racist. I merely reject the Islam, which is an anti-democratic and anti-Christian ideology of aggressive war.

      If I would not condemn the Islamic doctrine, I would be as bad as someone, who would not condemn the Nazis. Islam and Nationalsocialism come out of the same woodwork, they are ideologies of death, destruction an hate.

      It is a crime to tolerate or promote Nationalsocialism, but it is also a crime to tolerate the Islam.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Zenichi-Maro

      Rainer: You'd do well to position your opinions as such. You speak of your religion as though it were fact, which actually makes you as dangerous as the Muslim fundamentalists you so seem to despise.

      For instance, as a buddhist, I am very much at peace and do not wrestle with any kind of guilt–responsiblity, sure, but not guilt. I don't need some invisible, irrascible dude in the sky to kiss my karmic boo boo and make it okay; I am fully capable of doing so on my own. Just because you and so many like you are too weak to live your own life and fight your own demons doesn't make it true for the rest of the world.

      Cheers,
      ZNM

      September 30, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • DA

      Excellent and CORRECT statement!!

      September 30, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Guest

      You redefine what it means to be a moron. Congratulations, your prize is ultimate stupidity.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  6. Rainer Braendlein

    The fate of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani shows us again the gorgon face of Islam.

    Islam is the exact opposite of Christianity. In contrast to Christianity (religion of happy life and recovery) Islam means death and destruction.

    It is high time that we worldwide and completely condemn the Islamic doctrine. Islam is not a faith, which wants to lead people to God, beside other faiths, but the anti-faith. The Islam promotes the basest instincts of man like greed for honour, power and riches. By the impact of Islam people corrupt, instead of getting better.

    Look at history: By Muhammad's doctrine the ancient Arabs became worse instead of better. Before Muhammad emerged, the Arabs merely raided trading caravans (yet bad enough). After Muhammad the muslim Arabs even raided whole guiltless countries and even the Christian Eastern Roman Empire Byzantium.

    The Islam is not a way to God, but merely a war-religion (aggressive war against guiltless people). The "fascination" of Islam is it's legitimation of evil deeds as good deeds (for example the Koran requires Muslims countries to conduct aggressive war against Jewish and Christian countries, which is a heavy crime). Muhammad really was an evil genius. He told the Arabs it would cause Allah's favour, if they would fight against Jews and Christans (the so-called infidels). Muhammad legalized aggressive war. Worse than a crime itself is it to legalize a crime, because criminals are motivated to increasingly commit crimes, which are called good deeds by the false prophets.

    Off with you, Islamic gorgon!

    September 30, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • wjs

      Rainer, it is more than obvious that you have not bothered to read any translation of the Qur'an, much less a good one. (Try Muhammad Asad's The Message of the Qur'an.) Do so before you come back to spout your nonsense. You know not of what you speak...

      September 30, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • American Girl

      Dear Rainer Braendlein,
      Perhaps the next time you want to make a comment regarding the nature of Islam as a religion, and therefore a way of life, you will take the time to read a little about the religion beyond what Fox News tells you. Islam, the word, means peace and the religion as a whole has never been meant to implement death. In fact, perhaps the next time you want to condemn a religion via comparison, you could consider that Islam is not the problem, but rather the authorities in various countries that are implementing it. Christianity is not all rainbows and butterflies, as you seem to imply. So next time you want to hate on a religion, maybe you could do everyone a favor and actually read something about it that goes beyond your presupposed notions of personal racism. JUST SAYING.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Guest

      You suck at life.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  7. Reality

    From p. 30:

    And the bloody terror that is Islam continues !!!!--–>

    Some other examples:

    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.[2]

    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.

    September 30, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Interesting facts!

      September 30, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Guest

      Because Christianity has absolutely no skeletons in it's closet either...

      September 30, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  8. Hoffman

    Islam is what we all end up practicing
    BS/700club etc

    September 30, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  9. Charms

    ...."and breaches Iran's own international obligations". Iran has one? really? And i can only imagine what he's going through in a theocratic jail.

    September 30, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  10. humberto

    The US Consyitution acknowledge the difference between worship and taking the law into your own hands, but delusional judges don't for corrupt politicians .

    September 30, 2011 at 4:55 am |
  11. Az

    Hey why don't you Americans just mind your own business? have you guys figured out whether west Memphis 3 are guilty or innocent? If not, what about do that first before worrying about another country's internal affair?

    September 30, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • William Demuth

      Because we plan on invading them.

      Haven't you sensed the pattern yet?

      September 30, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • DA

      Hey AZZ,
      Do we cut people's heads off if they refuse to believe what we believe?? Get your head out of the sand and look at some realities!

      September 30, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  12. ickleone

    Isn't it amazing how any orginised religion goes to the worst degree.... just look through history each religion, Judaism, Christians and Islam.... and don't even have to go into history to see they do more damage then what they do good...

    September 30, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • Michael

      Anything that is made for good can be used for bad once in the hands of man. It doesn't matter if it religion or natural resources.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:41 am |
    • William Demuth

      Michael

      Everything except Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

      They are the ultimate force for good.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @William 'Dairy Nazi' Demuth
      Your bigotry against the lactose intolerant is abhorrent.
      Why do you hate the enzymatically challenged?

      September 30, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Sean

      William Demuth: Some of us are lactose intolerant and a grilled cheese sandwich can surely be evil..

      September 30, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  13. Kumar

    So the White House can condemn this but not the Troy Davis case... nothing against the pastor, but way to speak up for your own...

    September 30, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • William Demuth

      Well this guy is at least semi white.

      Plus Troy wasn't sitting on 30 trillion in oil!

      September 30, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @William Demuth
      I don't know where you get the impression that the United States primary interest in the middle east is to get their hands on the precious, delicious oil.
      It isn't like the former presidential administration responsible for the invasion of various countries in that region had a vested interest in the oil industry or anything.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  14. The_Mentalist

    Too bad they are not civilized enough to send drones, fighter jets, million dollar F16s, high-tech missiles raining on apt. buildings and homes in America killing and maiming people to whom they did not agree. whom they could not subjugate........ those barbarians !

    September 30, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • Zenichi-Maro

      EXACTLY. But be careful making intelligent and logical points. It appears to anger some on this board...

      September 30, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  15. HELLOWAKEUP

    Mexicans chopping off heads for drugs, Iranians killing people because of religious beliefs UGH!. DISCUSSING! I guess cave men are still exist. Time for me to find a rock and hide under it! Good luck with your violent world, cause it does not accomplish anything to hurt people it just makes people more mad, and starts more wars!

    September 30, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • ok

      Discussing huh? Retard.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:58 am |
  16. the epistle

    This is the kind of thing that shakes the very foundation of western Christians. They suppose that they are special elects that wil be 'raptured' before the tribulation – that is to make a decision between worldly wealth and the true Christian religion. “This brother – and millions like him – has not been raptured!”. He is facing the reality of true Christianity, as taught by Jesus. This man is persecuted by the antichrist rule of the world, and by that I mean the whole world, that includes western anti-Jesus Christ people. One nation or culture cannot be separated as antichrist. Take a look at video’s on YouTube, to see how true Christians are persecuted by the American authorities. Doesn’t matter what their modernized law, it is persecution. How can they stop Muslims if they camouflage their actions by laws?

    September 30, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • humberto

      There is alot of propaganda going around to misinform and deceive, Comentators were always held liable for their actions till entertainment news came about. and it was just for that reason, to deceive.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:27 am |
    • yannaes

      Contrary: It inspires us to know that what we stand for we come against all odds and will not renounce who we believe in. It is not about "Religion" it is about the one that is our creator and whom we adhere our fundamental beliefs around. Very simple, and we are sad for this, of course, but this is part of what is, what we see, as a process of the times we live in. Take hold, this is greater than you or any of us can imagine. Make sure you do not put all your belief in Science, for this is so far beyond that and hopefully your eyes will open, and if they do not, we, as Christians are sad for you, more sad for you than the Pastor who stands before death's door and will not renounce Jesus as Lord.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  17. buttery_comp

    If saying he's muslim will save his life and one day lead to him leaving that country then he's the fool for not out smarting those people...

    September 30, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • chris

      He has a conviction in his belief that in the face of death he does not flinch or cower .... That is bravery to be commended at its highest ...

      September 30, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • gager

      Chris, it is not bravery, it is stupidity. Dieing does no one any good.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • chris

      Gager, to allow yourself to be killed for no purpose or belief is a waste ....we will all die ... What and how we choose to do with our life given to beliefs or purpose is what makes a person great or menial...

      September 30, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • Charms

      he's brave! and for the record, if he dare recants his Christian belief what makes you sure that will save him? In Islam there is a word called "Taqia"...it means lying to an infidel or tricking him/her.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  18. Jordan

    More evidence that Religions could bring about the end of the world (just not in the way they said it would).

    September 30, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • chris

      So could greed power distrust and racial beliefs .

      September 30, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • Brad T.

      He should just tell them whatever they want to hear and then leave the country. This is not the Middle Ages.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • yannaes

      Jordon: define religion for all of us please?

      September 30, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  19. GaryB

    This is why religion has no place in government.

    September 30, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • Stephen

      This is why there's fail-safes in our Nuclear / Biological weapons systems, keeps those religious nut jobs from trying to bring about the apocalypse with their own twisted beliefs, decry Islam, but the Book of Revelation is nothing to look forward to.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • Sheesh

      Stephen:
      "the Book of Revelation is nothing to look forward to."

      Close. The Book of Revelation is nothing.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • Stephen

      Sheesh:

      I'm talking to these Christians posting biblical texts all over here, they love to quote the first 4 gospels and pretend their religion is soft and cuddly, when in reality it's just as dangerous as any of the other religions.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Stephen, Jesus is God and yes, He has all the emotions that humans have. We are, after all, made in His image. Therefore, He loves all of us, but He hates that we are so evil especially when we do not read, comprehend, then apply HIS TRUTH (the Bible) about life and the hereafter to our lives.

      You can point all the fingers you want. Christians know He is truth and we do all that we can to please Him. Non-believers are too arrogant to comprehend this truth. All I can say is, go mouth off and act like a fool towards your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncle and see how far that gets you in your own family.

      Amen.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      HeavenSent

      Somehow the image of you doing all you can to "please" Jesus seems an appropriate one for you.

      Your worse than some groupie at a rock concert.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • yannaes

      Enjoy the ride! This has been around just a little longer than you, so enjoy and relax. Your destiny is not in your hands. Go get a cheese burger.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • wjs

      HeavenSent, you said, "Christians know He [Jesus] is truth ..." Yes, and Muslims know that the Qur'an - which acknowledges other revelations also as being other truths - is truth; so, how would you have it? Jesus or the Qur'an? Why not both?

      Ameen.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  20. David

    Our government and media in America were more upset by an Florida pastor who wanted to burn a Koran in the name of Christ than they are about an Iranian pastor who is about to be killed in the name of Allah. It is a sad state of affairs in this country today. U.S.A., R.I.P.

    September 30, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • Stephen

      David, we don't have any control over what Iranians can directly do to this individual, we can only voice disapproval.

      If because of one pastor doing something stupid like burning a Quran. We put Americans all over the world in danger, including men and women serving across the globe, who knows, maybe their reaction to this pastor was inflamed by the Quran burning? Domino effect.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • chris

      Only r.I.p. if we as a people lay down and allow it to happen. We as a people have a voice and a duty ..... Organize and get the word out to vote out and keep out those who would weaken this nation. Stay strong and do not lose hope for America.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:14 am |
    • humberto

      I noticed they only targeted thoes that were knowingly disrespectfull and unjustly challanged them.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • humberto

      Get your people out of their heads.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Amen David. As our government puppets conditions folks through their political crap baloney violating freedom of speech as well as assembly, as they usher in their robotic not caring agenda ... what happens to human life around the globe. All I can say is that's the way of the spiritually dead that rose to the top of the heap.

      Amen.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Charms

      that's because US is feminized...double standards and sensitivity. moreover, the liberal media cowers to islam. that is where i give fox news credit.

      September 30, 2011 at 5:20 am |
    • humberto

      @heavensent
      Not knowing the Laws in Iran like you people do heavensent and you people getting so much out of a incomplete news article above about the Christian there in Iran,, who it seems was preaching without authority – what did he preach ?

      September 30, 2011 at 5:48 am |
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About this blog

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.