Youcef Nadarkhani: Christian Pastor Sentenced to Death for His Apostasy from Islam

If normative Islam is, indeed, a religion of tolerance and peace, I would like to hear from American and other Muslims on a recent death sentence handed down, by an Iranian court, on a Christian pastor who refuses to recant his Christianity.

Here’s the grotesque news (as reported by the Times of London yesterday):

The Foreign Secretary and the Archbishop of Canterbury intervened last night to try to save a Christian pastor in Iran who has refused to renounce his faith to escape a death sentence.

An Iranian court gave Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, a third and final chance to avoid hanging, but he replied: “I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant.”

The panel of five judges will decide within a week whether to confirm his execution for apostasy, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, his lawyer, told The Times.

William Hague said he “deplored” Pastor Nadarkhani’s plight, and a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office diplomat telephoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires in London to protest. . . .

The Supreme Court of Iran upheld the sentence last month, but with two provisos — it asked the court in Rasht to check that he had been a practising Muslim at 15, the age of maturity, and to give him three chances to recant.

Pastor Nadarkhani denied ever having been a Muslim, but the prosecution argued successfully that he was of “Islamic ancestry”. However, he refused to renounce his faith at three hearings this week.

And here’s an image of this man with his child:

Tell me, if you are a Muslim, that this man’s execution is not okay. Or, if you think it is okay, I want to know why you say that.

But your silence will not do.


Iran lacks an embassy in the United States, but if you would like to lobby for Youcef Nadarkhani’s life, Iran has a representative office in Washington that can be reached in care of the Pakistani embassy. Here’s the address and other contact information:

Representative Office of Iran

c/o Embassy of Pakistan
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
United States
Website URL:

What an obscene and aggravating situation. Are we really living in the 21st century?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Youcef Nadarkhani: Christian Pastor Sentenced to Death for His Apostasy from Islam

  1. andrewclunn says:

    At this point you either have to accept that Islam is not a religion of peace, or that any religion that controls government will use force and fear to intimidate the citizenry into compliance. I wonder (as someone who rejects several tenants in that universal declaration of human rights) how safe I would be in a country that adopts it as law.

  2. concerned christian says:

    Thank you Santi for posting this story, I appreciate that you follow up on this tragedy and challenge all decent Muslims to speak up and condemn this crime. We heard from CAIR when a Graffiti was sprayed on a Mosque’s wall, we heard from them when a sign outside a Mosque was vandalized. Now it is time for all decent Muslims and for all who pretend to be moderate Muslims to speak out. This is a crime committed in the name of Islam by a Muslim government, there is no way to gloss over such atrocity. I hope that Obama is using his Muslim-brothers advisers in the White House to contact the Iranians and ask them to release that man. If he is executed the World will be allowing a new Holocaust to go on unchallenged. This is just the tip of the iceberg of Islamic intolerance.
    Finally, before I read your posting I looked for this story on MSNBC and I could not find it. It is posted on Huff Post but half of the comments are either by Muslim apologists or by far-out leftists who can only see a problem with Christianity. It’s sad but ultimately unless the West realize the danger it is facing their next generation will pay the price that my people in the Middle East has been paying for many centuries.

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