Sunday, 9 October 2011

Iran Threatens to Execute Home Church Pastor – But the Case Is Bizarre

Joel Kontinen

Denying Islam can lead to severe problems, especially in Muslim countries. In 2009 an Islamic court in Iran sentenced Youssef Nadarkhani to death because of apostasy. He had become a Christian.

The police arrested Nadarkhani for the first time in 2006. The Iranian Supreme Court upheld the ruling against him last year. Nadarkhani, the pastor of a small house church, will be hanged if he does not ”repent” of his apostasy.

Recently, a bizarre development occurred in Nadarkhani’s case. After US and British leaders had appealed to Iran, the Iranians changed the charge against him.

According to Christianity Today, “though Nadarkhani was found guilty and sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010, the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars News reported on September 30 that he will now be executed for Zionism, rape, and extortion.”

There is nothing new under the sun, however. Not so long ago, a totalitarian state in Europe used to diagnose dissidents as being mentally ill and send them to get treatment. Iran seems to have adopted a similar strategy.


Feddes. Morgan. 2011. From Death Sentence to Rape Charges, Iranian Pastor’s Case Is Rare—and Disputed. Christianity Today. (6 October).