These excerpts are from Fox News… (Click HERE)
An Iranian pastor who has refused to recant his Christian faith faces execution as early as Wednesday after his sentence was upheld by an Iranian court.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who maintains he has never been a Muslim as an adult, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, the 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court ruled. Iran’s Supreme Court had ordered the trial court to determine whether Nadarkhani had been a Muslim prior to converting to Christianity.
The judges, according to the American Center for Law & Justice, demanded that Nadarkhani, 34, recant his Christian faith before submission of evidence. Though the judgment runs against current Iranian and international laws and is not codified in Iranian penal code, the judge stated that the court must uphold the decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.
When asked to repent, Nadarkhani stated: “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?”
“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge replied, according to the American Center for Law & Justice.
“I cannot,” Nadarkhani said. (Emphasis mine, RE)
Nadarkhani is the latest Christian cleric to be imprisoned in Iran for his religious beliefs. According to Elam Ministries, a United Kingdom-based organization that serves Christian churches in Iran, there was a significant increase in the number of Christians arrested solely for practicing their faith between June 2010 and January. A total of 202 arrests occurred during that six-month period, including 33 people who remained in prison as of January, Elam reported.
God bless, strengthen, and guide Youcef. Needless to say, Youcef Nadarkani and his family need our prayers. Americans… be thankful we live when and where we do (At least for the moment).