Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution
October 10th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) –-  The possible hanging of an Iranian pastor, who may face execution for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs, reached the highest levels of the Iranian government over the weekend with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei being asked for his opinion on the possible death sentence.

Mohammad Dadkhah, attorney for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, told CNN that Nadarkhani was still alive and that the court has asked the highest religious leader in Iran for his input. Though Khamenei has the ultimate authority in Iranian affairs, the move is unusual for a case that was supposed to be decided Monday.

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 last month at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs.

After the trial, however, reports by the semi-official Fars News Agency on September 30 indicated that the charges against Nadarkhani have since changed and the pastor is now charged with rape and extortion. "This issue has nothing to do with his abandoning his religion," reported Fars.

"He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes," Gholomali Rezvanii said in the Fars News report. Renvanii is the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted.

In a 2010 Iranian Supreme Court brief obtained by CNN, the charge of apostasy is the only charge listed.

"He [Nadarkhani] has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim," states the brief.

"During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir – olvasileh."

The case has drawn international attention, with governments from around the world, including the United States, Britain and France, issuing statements on the fate of the pastor.

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."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Iran

soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. Caral from SoCal

    Everybody sit up and pay attention. When we think that the leaders of these countries such as Iran are able to be negotiated with – remember Pastor Nadarkhani. When we think that sharia law would work out just fine here in the US...think of Pastor Nadarkhani. When some very ill-informed idealists try to shout down the facts, and tell us that there is no need to be militarily strong, but rather simply to have open discussions....remember Pastor Nadarkhani. The leaders of these countries do not think like we do. They do not believe all religions are equal, all countries are equal, or all people are equal. Some of these men have declared over and over their intent to remove Israel from the map – and that America should suffer the same fate. The people in these countries will tell us the truth about these regimes...but for some reason, we never seem to want to listen.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:26 am |
  2. E=MC2

    The Bible is very clear about laying down your life for Christ. While I hope, as any compassionate person would that he be spared, Iran's execution of this man would be a huge turning point in the worlds relations with Iran. Let's face it, Iran is today's Nazi Germany or Soviet Union...ie, the bad guys. The world waited far too long to confront and destroy nazi Germany. I think the world needs to take action, unfortunately military, to rid the world of these Islamic menaces in the world. It is a clash of civilizations and no President Obama, you cannot talk to these people. Just look at the totally irresponsible lecture Imanutjob gave at the UN. I truly believe the only way forward is to make a direct threat against Iran to dismantle it's nuclear program, which will bring down the regime, or face imminent war. No, this cannot be some little shock and awe campaign either. I think all out total anihilation of Iran is necessary. Also, in doing so it will scare the pants of the other nut jobs in the area and stop terrorism. If they do reply with terrorist acts, we should make it known that for any American killed, we will level an entire city. Any home grown terrorism out of a mosque will result in the mosque being shut down. Islam is evil. There is no politically correct way to say it. It is an evil religion and will clash with the west once and for all. The muslims will not see their 11th Imam or whatever, but will all see the dark side of heaven. Perhaps this is the armageddon the bible spoke of. Islam has to be purged from this earth if there is ever to be peace.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • Giggling Marlin

      Gotta love a "compassionate person" Christian who advocates the "all out total annihilation of Iran."

      October 11, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • E=MC2

      There has never been anyone with as much compassion as Christ, yet it is clear the world will have a clash of civilizations or good vs. evil known as Armageddon. No one knows the time when this will happen. I personally hope sooner than later as it will be followed by Christ's return. There can be no compassion for people like this who call for the end of Israel, how say the Holocaust was a myth and who now claim 9/11 was a conspiracy. There is evil in the world and it will be dealt with like Hitler was and ultimately the Soviet Union. Evil must be confronted with an iron fist. When europe tried to confront Nazi germany with compassion , Chamberlain came back with a useless piece of paper which Germany would never uphold. Churchill was right. Nazi germany was a scourge on the world that had to be dealt with. The world waited and waited while the nazi's destroyed peaceful nations and millions of innocent people. You cant leave a tumor in a body thinking it would be wrong to cut out living tissue. It is bad and will kill you so you do take the knife and cut it out and kill what remains. Life is not all roses and pretty. There has and always will be evil and it is not wrong to want the removal of this evil. The compassionate thing would be to confront this evil and remove it as it is a cancer in this world.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Allen

      The Bible says we must love our neighbour. The Bible does not advocate war, rather, it supports the idea of leadership. Countries should lead and protect for human rights. Islam an many other religions are just that, religions and not reasons to divide. I am a Christian, and I have been taught to love others, to lead, and to be tolerant. I am sorry you think this way E=MC2

      October 11, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • EndOfDaysBelieverInChrist

      E=MC2 is a humanistic physics secular thing. It shows that calculating the Bible is much different than the Holy Spirit guiding you through the Bible. He might not even be a real Christian. This is common as satan also comes as an "angel of light"

      October 11, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Greg

      Dear E=MC2. "Suppose there were fifty righteous people in [Iran]; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it?" (Genesis 18:24 with my small change.)

      October 11, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • islam

      ur hugely mistaken,the real nazi is u,try to learn about islam,punishment for changing ur faith from islam is death.thats the law.so think before u speak.you talk about war against iran.u think iran is the same as iraq and afghanistan.i recomend u to go and vist the country and decide later

      October 11, 2011 at 2:55 am |
  3. Greg

    To all who think bad about Iran. I know Iranians who are NOT Muslim (as well as they are not Christians,) and they had to escape from their country in fear of their life. Yes – they had to escape their fatherland! If you ever think that Iran is bad, or Israel, Russia, Pakistan are bad then you need to replace your hearts. Countries are without souls. People who live in those countries are the same children of God as you are. And they suffer. Pray for them too. And pray for those who persecute Youcef, for they do that out of darkness of their hearts, and refusal to believe in God who is Beloved Father, and who did not create us for He needs us to do anything (including killing others) but because He simply loves us. Not because what we do (or what we don't do) but because [dot].

    October 11, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • islam

      dear greg,u saying that judasim is ur father religion and christianity is all about hope and love,i really see no conection between them,moses was cold blooded military ruler that killed 3000 of his own people,women children elderly just bcuz of worshiping golden cow when he was absent,i see no love in that and this just an example of the tribe brutality over course of the time.if ur a true christian u should know that judas put jesus on the cross,there is no love in that either,so how can u say judasim is ur father religion when all they done and still doing is killing.

      October 11, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • Muneef

      That was the will of GOD and not Moses...;

      Sahih International
      And the people of Moses made, after [his departure], from their ornaments a calf – an image having a lowing sound. Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to a way? They took it [for worship], and they were wrongdoers.(07:148)

      And when regret overcame them and they saw that they had gone astray, they said, "If our Lord does not have mercy upon us and forgive us, we will surely be among the losers." (07:149).

      And when Moses returned to his people, angry and grieved, he said, "How wretched is that by which you have replaced me after [my departure]. Were you impatient over the matter of your Lord?" And he threw down the tablets and seized his brother by [the hair of] his head, pulling him toward him. [Aaron] said, "O son of my mother, indeed the people oppressed me and were about to kill me, so let not the enemies rejoice over me and do not place me among the wrongdoing people." (07:150).

      [Moses] said, "My Lord, forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your mercy, for You are the most merciful of the merciful." (07:151).

      Indeed, those who took the calf [for worship] will obtain anger from their Lord and humiliation in the life of this world, and thus do We recompense the inventors [of falsehood]. (07:152).

      But those who committed misdeeds and then repented after them and believed – indeed your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful. (07:153).

      And when the anger subsided in Moses, he took up the tablets; and in their inscription was guidance and mercy for those who are fearful of their Lord. (07:154).

      October 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sahih International
      [ Allah ] said, "And what made you hasten from your people, O Moses?"

      He said, "They are close upon my tracks, and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased." (20:84).

      [ Allah ] said, "But indeed, We have tried your people after you [departed], and the Samiri has led them astray." (20:85).

      So Moses returned to his people, angry and grieved. He said, "O my people, did your Lord not make you a good promise? Then, was the time [of its fulfillment] too long for you, or did you wish that wrath from your Lord descend upon you, so you broke your promise [of obedience] to me?"

      They said, "We did not break our promise to you by our will, but we were made to carry burdens from the ornaments of the people [of Pharaoh], so we threw them [into the fire], and thus did the Samiri throw."

      And he extracted for them [the statue of] a calf which had a lowing sound, and they said, "This is your god and the god of Moses, but he forgot." (20:88).

      Did they not see that it could not return to them any speech and that it did not possess for them any harm or benefit? (20:89).

      And Aaron had already told them before [the return of Moses], "O my people, you are only being tested by it, and indeed, your Lord is the Most Merciful, so follow me and obey my order." (20:90).

      They said, "We will never cease being devoted to the calf until Moses returns to us." (20:91).

      [Moses] said, "O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray, (20:92).

      From following me? Then have you disobeyed my order?" (20:93).

      [Aaron] said, "O son of my mother, do not seize [me] by my beard or by my head. Indeed, I feared that you would say, 'You caused division among the Children of Israel, and you did not observe [or await] my word.' " (20:94).

      [Moses] said, "And what is your case, O Samiri?" (20:95).

      He said, "I saw what they did not see, so I took a handful [of dust] from the track of the messenger and threw it, and thus did my soul entice me." (20:96).

      [Moses] said, "Then go. And indeed, it is [decreed] for you in [this] life to say, 'No contact.' And indeed, you have an appointment [in the Hereafter] you will not fail to keep. And look at your 'god' to which you remained devoted. We will surely burn it and blow it into the sea with a blast. (20:97).

      Your god is only Allah , except for whom there is no deity. He has encompassed all things in knowledge."(20:98).

      October 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Muneef

      Strange for some one who calls him self Islam does not know what's in the Holy Quran...

      October 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  4. Name*Chedar

    Mess up religion. I thought zjudaisn, Islam and Christianity came from and started from so called Abrahamic Religion.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • EndOfDaysBeliverInChrist

      Mess up satanism? Isnt' that YOUR religion?

      October 11, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Spell much?


      October 11, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • EndOfDaysBelieverInChrist

      Thanks, I know your perfect. Nice input on this story however, your very intelligent obviously. Spellcheck is more important than murder of Christians, hmm...good heart

      October 11, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Greg

      I assume you simply did not do your homework.
      1) We, humans, are having ingrained in our hearts desire for love and happiness. This is God who created it so we could be drawn to Him.
      2) Because of the original sin our soul is sick (if your both parents have aids, you will have it too. You don't deserve it. But you have it.)
      3) It is not Israel who created religion or it is not Abraham who was 'enlighten'. It is God who came to us. God chose the nation of Israel to prepare the way of salvation.
      4) Jesus Christ brought in fullness of knowledge (we still need to understand it, though) and died on the Cross for ALL of us. Father in Heaven told Saint Catherine of Sienna, that Christ is a 'bridge' to Heaven, but we still need to walk on it.
      5) After Christ, there were and there are still people claiming to meet God or His angels, and that they learned truth (always different than Christ, although sometimes with element of Christ in their teaching.)
      Islam claims that they also believe in One God who came to Abraham, but it claims that Jewish and Christians changed all the message and lie to the world, but [prophet] Muhammad after learning from an angel what is true, says what it it is. Period.
      6) Real Christianity (read: people who really believe and not only tell they believe) show that God is Love for they open their hearts to Jesus and they are changed. They ask God to help them to love others, no matter who these others are, the same way Jesus loves us (died on the Cross without grumbling, accepting death and accepting injustice, to show us the way of Love.)
      7) People prophesying their faith by words only but they refuse to do what Christ ask them to do, or people who thing that do not care about Truth (Christ) and Love (God) will force others to convert to their believes in attempt to sooth their doubts.
      Bottom light, Judaism is our fathers religion, Christianity is fulfillment, all the rest are private alterations (sometimes huge ones) to match the faith to what they want to believe in.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Muneef


      Sahih International
      And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.(05:48)

      October 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  5. frank

    We don't rule the world, lets stay within our boarders and fix our own families.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Faisal

      Sounds like you're trying to oppress me. If I want to help someone, or lend help to a situation, what is that to you?

      October 11, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • Caral from SoCal

      With all due respect, it is that exact logic that allowed Hitler to kill millions. Neville Chamberlain and his plan of appeasement, coupled with the United States desire to stay out of the worlds' problems, let an evil man run amok among his own people, and expand into countries nearby. It soon became obvious that if he wasn't stopped...he would try to take over the world. Tyrants and dictators are really all the same. Power has absolutely corrupted them. I don't want us to have to be the world's policeman, but I would much rather the fight be contained to the area of outbreak, rather than spreading across the continents and then forcing a response of even more massive scale.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  6. Mr. Clean

    I can't understand why people actually believe in religion at all... If there were such things as the 'almighty' then why do they not 'smite those that commt inhumane acts'? Wake up! It's all a story to make you feel good about paying taxes and dying.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Faisal

      Is that the most constructive thing you can say? Plus, if you really truly cared about helping people, you would at least should some emotion towards the situation. If what you say is true, someone is about to lose their life and according to you, there is no point in believing in anything because God isn't real and there shall be no afterlife. Wow, you are one cold hearted sick person if you believe that, and the most emotion you can show is a selfish projection. Hmm, if hell is filled with people like you, i'll be glad if I don't end up there. I'm a Christian.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • EndOfDaysBeliverInChrist

      Do you clean with powder Mr. Clean? You seem to enjoy this story of someone dying. You too have the heart of murder inside you it would seem...

      October 11, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Billy Hickup

      Faisal, spending the rest of eternity with a bunch of religious zealots doing nothing but kissing up to a God who needs to have sniveling sycophant constantly stroke his ego, well, that's the perfect definition of Hell to me.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • EndOfDaysBelieverInChrist

      BIlly Hickup. Wait till the antichrist makes you bow to him. You'll be sniveling with him down to the pit ....

      October 11, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  7. Dinesh

    So Islam is a peace-loving religion huh? How stupid do you think the rest of the world is?
    Islam and Muslims are the most intolerant bunch and are happy to use violence to uphold a religion they know cannot be upheld any other rational way

    October 11, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • E=MC2

      Well stated and true.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  8. DeeCee2011

    Based on what was said about Mormons, here in the US!?! Nah, kill this guy – the Evangelicals are not worth saving – anywhere!!!

    October 11, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • richarddurian

      What a horrible thing to say. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are so narrow minded. Why do you class all groups together? That is prejudice, and nothing short of ignorant. Your country ( USA ) hails freedom of speech, and then when someone speaks of something you don't agree with, you label them and pass judgement. But you will exalt Lady Gaga and her two cents or something like that. Goes to show, wisdom is proved right by its actions... May you find mercy

      October 11, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • EndOfDaysBeliverInChrist

      Yes, that's what I'm talking about. You have the murderous spirit of the antichrist in the last days spoken of in Revelations. You want to kill Jesus, by killing Christians in your heart and text. You may as well be screaming "Free Barabbas!" God bless you, may you see that you're on the path to hell, and that it isn't going to be pretty.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Annie

      That's so disgusting.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • EndOfDaysBeliverInChrist

      Plus your a DC government spy

      October 11, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • End Of Nights

      Wow DeeCee, you really chummed up the yokels with that one! I especially liked that endofdays whacko!

      Nice one!

      October 11, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • EndOfDaysBeliverInChrist

      Watching Christians get murdered for their faith isn't wacko chummy

      October 11, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • E=MC2

      The Evangelicals are the only true believers in what the bible truly says. To many denominations teach of how to live a good life with simple stories that we can relate to. An evangelical church, while being encouraging, emphasizes the love and compassion God does have for all mankind. Christianity is not about following the strict law, but forgiveness of our sin. It's all about Grace and a personal relationship with God. No wearing some goofy attire to prove you are obedient, no bowing towards some mystical city 5 times a day just to obey a rule and no sacrificing animals to pay for your sins. It is done. Nothing more needs to be done. All there is now, is walking with the Lord and loving Him. So simple. Pure love.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  9. m W

    I am a christian living in the middle east, our life is miserable here because of Muslims.

    My 2 cents: watch out europe and america, Dont give muslims space (since they do not give us christians any rights in these countries, why do they ask for their rights in european countries of the us?). No matter how good a muslim is to you, he still thinks you are an infidel that should convert to islam. They are maniacs and terrorists. Dont give them space in the europe if they want to be good muslims then send them back to their f'd countries..

    October 11, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Muneef

      Then you must be gay and they are not allowing you the freedom of being screwed up..??

      October 11, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • Greg

      Muneef – you must be really hurting to be able to write something like that 🙁

      October 11, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Muneef


      Dear I hate to use such language or say such things and am already regreting having said that but some times at anger you do not know what to say other than hurting when being hurt... We have many families from Yemen who immigrated to the West whether Europe or USA looking for better prospective for them selves as well as their children educations..and it does hurt me when seeing some one says such things about those whether they were Arabs or non Arabs...
      Any way Greg. Thank you for bringing it to my attention that I should be more better and tolerant than other small minded one's ...thanks

      October 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Muneef


      This guy is not Arabian other wise he will not say such a thing about his brothers and sisters from other creeds...therefore I can tell you this guy is not Christian nor he is living in the middle east but rather some one living in the west but trying to bring further hatred and fears between Christians and Muslims... So bother not about him...

      October 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  10. ghost

    SpartySam...Like the old saying goes... If you don't have anything good to say don't say it at all 🙂

    October 11, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  11. Laura

    Father God... in the mighty name of His Son, Jesus. Please descend from above and create a blanket of love and protection for this pastor who proclaims the good news of Jesus... That all who should acknowledge Him and promise to abide by Him... Shall have everlasting life. Lord I pray you elevate this pastor from the chains he is shackled to, give him life, liberty, and every abiding peace.... because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go... Joshua 1:9. Set him free, please leaders of Iran. We thank you for you understanding and kindness...

    October 11, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  12. InvisibleGuyIntheSky

    Are you kidding me? All this over Religon what a load of you know what. Is someone afraid of the invisible guy in the sky or is it some excuse to fight kill and create a look of a deer in headlights...When he pays my rent I will believe until then we really all should learn to live together...

    October 11, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Mike-Bell

      Actually, God does pay your rent.
      Take a deep breath.
      Savor your meals.
      Thank the poor souls that labor with faith in God's dirt to feed and cloth you.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Greg

      Dear "InvisibleGuyIntheSky". As a matter of fact He does pay your rent.
      Now, I need to tell you that your response is extremely offensive. It is offensive for you tell me that I am a freak of nature, a piece of krap. That would imply that there is no hope for me and that I should use other people to please myself until I disappear. Also you offend my intelligence telling me that something could create itself out of nothing and start moving without a mover. It's a pseudo-science and stubbornly defending illogical things is called bigotry. But I will tell you that there is God who loves me (and as a matter of fact also loves you) so much that He gave up His Only Son so you could live. Jesus died on the cross not to feel good about Himself, for the death on the Cross was not pleasant. He showed us how much He loves us and how much at the same time we can live in this darkness where is wailing and grinding of teeth, and that we are capable to kill the one who gave is life. But the hope exists. And Jesus tells us (and you) that there is hope and that we (and you) can change and stop being slaves to our sins and live in hell (which starts already here, on Earth.) If you find yourself happy and you are never offended by anyone and willing all the best to others, then you don't need Jesus. But if you have a slight doubt in your self righteous and being a saint then I beg you, tell God that you don't believe in Him (He already knows) but you ask Him to to change your heart and help you to love others the way He loves others (for who needs my or your love anyway?) And I promise you, He will change your heart, and you will become free. God Bless you!

      October 11, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  13. EndOfDaysBeliverInChrist

    Christians should be praying for him. This is a very courageous act of declaring his unwavering faith in Jesus. He may very well be crucified, but Jesus says "no servant is greater than his Master". His reward in heaven will be immense. God bless you Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani This was all spoken about in Revelations, the persecution of Christians is unfolding in these last days.....God bless us all

    October 11, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • watermaple

      Amen to that!

      October 11, 2011 at 2:18 am |
  14. Mike-Bell

    Social governance was established through a community accord for 'civil' conduct. When that control through governance became centralize in a select few; many such communities became a religious sect that espoused or subjected to the central authority.
    Even secularism is a form of religion established to accommodate a plurality of religions.

    October 11, 2011 at 1:34 am |
  15. thad

    Iran's belief in a very very false prophet that was choked by an angel.basically rip what he like out the bible and married a nine year old girl.Now killing man for his belief in someone other than moon god allah. Satan is the author of confusion. Pray for the good pastor life.

    October 11, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Richard

      Because it certainly matter which fairy tales he believes.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  16. watermaple

    Why would a religion preach death to those that switch faiths? Why are they even worried about it? I am a Christian and I pray for them. I don't kill them.

    October 11, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • ghost

      Amen (:

      October 11, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Mike-Bell

      To maintain a purity of the faith they have to cleanse it of anything that threatens it.
      To leave the faith brings into question its authority and control. If it can't control individuals, it loses its power and authority.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  17. Reality is defined by our point of view

    You all act like this is some wild injustice. In this country it would be, but Iran is not this country. Everyone has rules in their own territories, whether it be their house, their business, or what have you. Iran has never made itself out to be a land of religious tolerance, and those in power have a right to establish a national religion and to legislate thereof. The Greeks, Romans, Persians, and most of the "classical empires" weren't bastions of religious freedom yet we look upon them as the great ancient dynasties and not tyrannical theocracies. I feel for this man, however his outright defiance is not something to be praised.

    October 11, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • watermaple

      The end is near and if he is killed, he will become a martyr.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • RamseyT

      Although I sympathize with the rest, I must agree with your claim. Iran is an Islamic Republic that is not nor will ever be tolerant of other religions. This pastor choose his path. On the flip side, he was sheparding a people within a restrictive regime. Just as there are those who die for their country with honor, so should this man for his faith.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • ghost

      Put yourself in his place or the place of any other human beign that has his own values and beliefs. No one should have the power to dictate to you how you should live your life unless you are harming an individual or pose a threat to others. In this case it's the other party who are threating the life of the Pastor who peacefully has shared his beliefs.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • Samantha

      Coptic Christians were in Egypt before the Islamic faith. Mohammad lived in the 600s. So by precedent the Christian should be allowed to stay. Yes,however, you are right, we all make our own judgments. I see Iran as a violent, intolerant, dreadful, horrible Islamic nation. I wouldn't go there and yes, we shouldn't likewise let radical Muslims who want sharia law and don't accept our democratic republic form of government come here.

      October 11, 2011 at 3:11 am |
  18. shyboy69

    Muslims are so intolerant. In Egypt they can't stand the fact that even 10% of the population is Christian. In countries of Sub-Sahara Africa like Nigeria, burgeoning Muslim populations attack Christians. The media usually just reports that Christians and Muslims are fighting with each other, failing to report that it's almost always Muslims that are doing the attacking. The Middle East was diverse at one time, before the Muslims massacred the other religions.

    October 11, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • watermaple

      The world is going through a religious upheaval and Hell will break loose..

      October 11, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • eville11

      live by the sword, die by the sword... just when does come the great battle? Americans are so busy bending over backwards for any minority blind to the camps of the enemies fill around and plan the demise of the infidels. War on terror- is a nice way to say it... but this has been a long going situation. The Pentagon and WH know keep the mid east unstable, if they organize properly, there could be big trouble. Nothing against Islam in general but the wayward beliefs of killing those of other faith is simply power hungry control mechanisms to conquer the world.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  19. Nate

    So much for Islam being a peaceful religion. All current forms of sharia law (Islamic Law) contain the death penalty for leaving the faith.

    October 11, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Lady

      Its never been peaceful! Read up on Mohammed! Hes horrible.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Indian Christian

      As an Indian, Christian, and American Citizen, I am often baffled by the amount of BS that occurs in our country in the name of tolerance towards Muslims. I am a bit tired of this, as my family is also Kashmiri and had to leave Kashmir because of the Pakistani terrorists. While India and Hinduism are very tolerant to Christians, my family came to the states to give us a more "Christian" life. And now I see that we can't even have a Christmas tree at our schools or pray. Where is our nation going? Even in INDIA - the schools still had Christmas celebrations and Christmas holidays. Why are we giving so much tolerance without expecting this back? Why are people upset about Guantanimo Bay when Muslims are killing people all over the world? Why should we respect their hijabs and religious practices, when we can't even bring a BIBLE into the arab countries without it being ripped into pieces? I don't mean we hurt them, but rather we preserve our own culture, and declare that we wont' be this tolerant unless that level of respect is returned.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  20. Jesus

    I Jesus never intended this behavior. I Mohammed never intended this behavior. I budah never intended this behavior. I Confucius never intended this behavior. I God never intended this behavior. What shall become of those who use religion for political power? Oops forgot, that's about it's only use!

    October 11, 2011 at 1:20 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.