home
RSS
My Take: Iran must stop persecuting minority religions
December 21st, 2011
11:56 PM ET

My Take: Iran must stop persecuting minority religions

By Roxana Saberi, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist, is the author of "Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran."

(CNN) – In March 2009, when I was detained in Evin Prison in Iran, two evangelical Christians were arrested. I never met them but spotted them a few times through the barred window of my cell as they walked back and forth to the bathroom down the hall.

I would later learn that Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh had converted from Islam to Christianity and faced charges of spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic, insulting religious sanctities, and committing apostasy. They resisted severe pressure to renounce their faith, and in November 2009, after an international outcry, the two women went free.

News headlines are now highlighting the plight of another Iranian Christian accused of apostasy, or abandoning one's religion. When Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was 19, he converted from Islam to Christianity. In 2010, a provincial court sentenced him to death. This year, Iran's Supreme Court ruled that the case should be reviewed and the sentence overturned if he recants his faith - a step Nadarkhani, 34, has so far refused to take.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Iran • Islam • Persecution

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. seo tools

    You completed various nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found mainly persons will consent with your blog. seo tools http://seotools.overblog.com/

    March 2, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  2. Free the Pastor!

    To all the persecuted Christians,
    We specially remember you and your family in our thoughts and prayers!

    December 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Prayer

      Dear Pastor Youcef, you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers, we join you and thank God Almighty.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    Why is everyone always whining?

    The religions that are being persecuted, can always convert. End of persecution.

    Glad I could help!

    Cheers!

    December 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • CG

      David-

      For many of the persecuted believers, your statement is equivalent to:

      "The people that can't stand that smell can always stop breathing. End of smell."

      Understand?

      December 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  4. Amnesty Intl

    Let my people go!
    Be human!

    December 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  5. Doc Vestibule

    Ayatollah Khamenei thinks less of B'Hai than he does of Christians.
    There has been a prolonged media campaign maligning the B'Hai in Iran, as well as standing orders to Command Headquarters to identify people who adhere to the Bahá'í Faith and to monitor their activities.

    December 22, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  6. hippypoet

    oh look, more fuel for the fire – this country has this belief that we are the planet's police force and therefore should have a say in all matters...We are not a global police nor do we have any rights or say to anything but what goes down in this country! So this is yes an opinion blog strung together with the belief blog but what its really is a setting for someone else to have numbers to grab and say well this many people believe that we should blah blah blah... stop letting them control you thru backdoor tactics...sry but this article just goes up my @ss, it is nothing but international propaganda usign your misguided sense of freedom of expression against you. On articles like these, we should leave them empty.

    December 22, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • (C)huckles

      @Hippy

      You and I seem to have slight disagreements today. Here's my take on the subject. Are we the world's police force? No nor should we be. However being the only superpower at the moment we have a responsibility to the world whether we like it or not. With our military might, our values of freedom and democracy and globalization, it's tough to ignore us and our message, especially when people clamour for us to help them. This whole thing in Libya for instance, should it really have involved even a single American outside the ones who might have been in the country at the time? Probably not, we could have just airlifted our citizens out of the country and let Ghaddafi slaughter thousands of people and watched in silent horror, but would you have had a black mark on your conscience?

      This article specifically is obviously a propganda piece against Iran because they've become our Lex Luthor, a country bent on destabilizing a region that's already in turmoil. Whether we like it or not, globalization does not allow us to sit back and ignore something that's going on halfway across the world.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • claybigsby

      "However being the only superpower at the moment we have a responsibility to the world whether we like it or not."

      we are hardly the only superpower in the world.

      December 22, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • (C)huckles

      @Clay

      Ahem.....yeah we are, we've been a superpower since the end of WWII and we competed with the soviet union until they completely collapsed which left us at the top of the pile. China is quickly becoming a superpower, however they have not yet.

      However, is that really all you go out of my post? Really?

      December 22, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • hippypoet

      i am a little disheartened by the fat that i had a hugely grand reply for you (C) huckles but the friggin censor hates me! this is the best i can do now – the more the US acts like it does with its out reach program for under privileged countries the more we appear as the global arbiters and will soon take on the look by ourselves... next is tyranny.

      December 22, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • (C)huckles

      @Hippy

      Bummer, maybe it's America censoring you.....

      In anycase, I agree to an extent that we stand on a very fine line and with our tumultuous politics, it's not hard to get pushed onto the wrong side. However, shouldn't American do outreach? If we have so much and other countries have so little, then shouldn't we give back and help where we can? If you agree to that, then do you also agree that if it's not only groups within the US, but the government itself, which has contacts, the power to push good stuff into countries so the people get it and not corrupt governments, not to mention it can provide a hell of a lot more than just a singular group within the US, then don't we as taxpayers at least have a say on who should and shouldn't get out help?

      That last line is where things get a little iffy and hazy because we all have different ideas about that. Some people think that Africans deserve our help because they don't have access to clean water, medicine, education and as one human being to another, if we can help we should. Others think that heathens in africa are lacking in religion and need jesus as their answer, or allah, or buddha.

      The long and short of it is, we can't just sit back and do nothing, that's tantamount to murder, if you withhold medicine from someone knowing they need it. Maybe it's my jewish blood and paranoia but if there's one thing I've learned from my own peoples history its that when people need help, others shouldn't sit back and tell them to help themselves. We need to take action and America is in a position where we can and should.

      December 22, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • hippypoet

      i completely agree with your point and that it is a very find line we walk, we meaning US citizens... If we do have more we should offer more – food and medicine of course, but help in a war... that is a selfish act on our part that we play off as acting in humane interests! We have our own issues, and i don't see others running off to give us a hand. I like an old saying, tend to your own backyard before you even comment on others. If we don't have a stronge voice as a leader should, then we become a tool of the U.N. and if we do have a stronge voice in a leader of this country then with our policies, watch out world! The point of the U.N is to what? they seem to only care about countries with the nuke, if you lack the nuke you can eat at the kids table... so there is outting being done on the highest levels, i don't think we should add to it by throwing around power likes its cake – we are fast becoming over stretched and its not going to lead anywhere good! Look to Rome for the outcome, they found out first hand and we are a mirror image of Rome!

      December 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • (C)huckles

      @Hippy

      To your point about helping out in war....well, let's just say that it was for human interests that helped our interests to boot. In this case I don't see any problem with helping people out if it helps you out to, it doesn't negate the help that we gave and the countless lives we probably helped saved. I can agree that no country is purely altruistic, nor can they be. True altruism will only make more guns point at you.
      You are right that we should fix our own house. But to use your example, we might not have cleared all the leaves in our backyard yet, but when other people still have rocks, old tir.es and what not, we might not lend them the leafblo.wer we have, but hows about giving them a hand, lend them a rake? Helping them ups your property value by making the neighbo.rhood more des.irable. We might still have piles of leaves in the backyard but sometimes we need to drop stuff and help other people who are in a much more imminent and dire situation.
      As for the UN..... well, I can't say I disagree with you. Any international body that tries to govern the world but is im.mediatly hobbled by being trumped by the sov.erignty of nations, especially when we create a very hierar.chial body like the UN, it's fast becoming as useless as the league of nations. Our dear president bush proved that by thumbing his nose at the UN and attacking iraq anyways and all the UN could do was condem.
      In my personal opinion, the only way a body like the UN can actually work is instead of being a confe.deracy of countries, it needs to be a completely international body, unbias and in control of a sizable army, nuclear ar.senal and is the ONLY one who controls nukes. A Hegemony that stands apart from the rest of the world that doesn't hold one country's interests above another and has the military power to back it up would even out the world and bring it together. There are of course a lot of very obvious problems with that though. One, countries with nukes aren't going to disarm and hand over all power to a singular body. Two) America won't give up being top dog, as much as we hate tyrannical dictators, we love being at the top and we won't pass superpower easily in hopes of world un.ification. Three) We'd have to contribute a fair amount of people to this Hegemony army and lose our most powerful military ti.tle, which is also unacceptable. four)Where would this governing body be, how much land would be allocated to it, and for the people living there, would the be citizens without a country?

      All those reasons impe.ded our progress because we're too selfish as a spe.cies to volunt.arily give up that much power, so until then the UN is the best we have and if that means that the countries with the nukes get to lay down the rules, we can't really do much about it except make sure we never use those nukes again and we don't allow countries who intend on using nukes to have them.

      December 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • hippypoet

      ...not much to add to that – it was nicely put. We agree that the UN is the best we have now but is far from the best we could do – but that in itself is an accecptence of how things are while only acknowledgeing that we can do better... i think we should do better, i know we can do better! Having countries that hold more sway over a international ruling body is just as bad as having a di.cator...only we have a few more checks and balancing going on! Nothing to be proud of... If you are missing even one country at the UN then your not a United Nations are you... but rather a grouping of the most powerful and most dangerious nations! That is very bad. By doing this thou we create an international forum where insults are war and compliments are se-xual har@ssment – this leads me back to my original issue – having international news is pointless and its always used as propaganda for political means unless we have direct impact...and having such power should be used to better the everyday lives of people not bash an entire nation for its laws. Who are we to even think we have a say? Fear, its the bottom line...if we disagree with your actions, then you better do what we say or we will just drop a nuke on your heads... then rebuild your nation while sending you food AT THE SAME TIME THAT WE HAVE HOMELESS AND STARVING HERE! If the arm that we use to inflect war on others was turned at us we wouldn't know what to do yet WE make it an everyday life for many countries! Again, look for Rome for your answers on what happens next! From inside to out, outside to in, the hordes will over take and run us out due only to what THEY call sin, and i call justice! The Tuetons, Lombards, Gallic tribes, German tribes, Goths, Vandles, Celts... they (rome) had more names for there enemies and they came from all around...where do you think ours will come from! Name any other country that wouldn't like to take a piece of this pie!!!?!?!?!????!?! policies need to change, the way we act needs to change! Mutual respect needs to be the constanst instead of threats of war! Like superman did with all the worlds nukes, lets toss them into the sun – granted we may all die because of the m@ssive explosion, we have it coming!

      December 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  7. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the developments in Iran and the Middle East we invite you to read the articles ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9.

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    December 22, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • .......

      CULT ALERT – This poster is a TROLL, click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll, they are here only to sell their garbage website and book.

      December 22, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • AvdBerg

      Go got http://www.gaychristian101.com to get the truth about Christs love!

      December 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  8. Ungodly Discipline

    This guy again? I thought he would be dead by now. If the government didn't get him, I thought for sure Audrey II would.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:04 am |
  9. Yasmin

    Iran should simply expel these people from the country if they hate them that much. Why would you want to stay in a crap country that hated you? Are you stupid? Why not move to a better place? Do you think there are no better places to go for your non-Iran-approved religion? Are you retarded? Are you no better than a whipped dog? Instead of trying to force your religion into Iran's nasty culture, why not move away and take your family and friends with you? Why not lobby for a change in how these countries treat people they don't like? Surely there are places you could move to! Are they stupid too? Yes.

    December 22, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      There is lots of cheap property available in the U.S. these days.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      They stay because they love the people in their country and want them to find the peace they have in Jesus and his teachings.

      December 22, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • Thinker23

      "Why would you want to stay in a crap country that hated you? Are you stupid? Why not move to a better place? "

      Ask the Palestinians...

      December 22, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • shahin

      wow wow wow, take it easy on the "nasty culture" and "crap country". Iran is a beautiful country with friendly people and before the Islamic Republic took charge it was a Middle-Eastern heaven for Europeans and Americans. What the IR is doing to the country is nothing close to "culture". It's a crappy government, but don't insult our country like you know sh!t about it.

      December 22, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  10. WOT

    Why don't we Americans clean up our own house first!

    December 22, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Yes we seem to have a serious hoarding problem. WOT you are not one of those people like HeavenSent with dead cat skeletons and moldy cheese laying everywhere are you?

      December 22, 2011 at 4:07 am |
  11. Reality

    For the "newbies":

    3. 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.

    Current crises:

    The global Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Well at least they have good Christian values.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. 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.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      December 22, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • .........

      for everyone hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      December 22, 2011 at 10:53 am |
Advertisement
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.