Ex-Muslim who became Christian pastor freed from Iranian prison

A Christian pastor who has been in and out of Iranian prisons for a decade, since he converted from Islam, now is free again.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom confirmed this week that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani had been released.

Nadarkhani, a convert from Islam and the leader of a 400-member house church, most recently had been arrested in 2018 and kept in jail on charges of acting against national security and promoting “Zionist Christianity.”

The Iranian government first attacked him in 2010, when he was accused of apostasy and evangelism, and sentenced to death, a sentence that later was dismissed.

“USCIRF welcomes news of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s long-overdue release,” the organization said in a statement.

“The Iranian regime has relentlessly targeted Christian converts from Islam for peacefully practicing their faith. Though we are relieved by his release many still remain imprisoned. We call for the release of all religious prisoners in Iran,” said spokesman Abraham Cooper.

“The U.S. government must continue to work with its partners in the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance to hold Iranian authorities accountable for its unjustified arrests and many violations of freedom of religion or belief.”

The organization reported that Iran’s constitution fails to recognize evangelical Christian communities, unlike other Christian communities that are afforded “nominal recognition.”

Police often raid those Christians during their peaceful religious gathers, especially at times such as Christmas.

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And Iran specifically targets those who convert from Islam.

“Pastor Nadarkhani’s repeated unjust detentions on the basis of his faith are illustrative of the Iranian authorities’ utter contempt for freedom of religion or belief and persecution of religious communities,” said USCIRF Commissioner Mohamed Magid. “The U.S. government must use all available options to hold accountable Iranian officials responsible for or complicit in these egregious violations.”

The USCIRF already has recommended that Iran be labeled by the U.S. State Department as a “Country of Particular Concern” over its “systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations.”

WND reported in 2012 that the pastor, who had been imprisoned and let out, was taken into custody on Christmas Day, on prosecutors’ demands he serve more prison time.

There was another attack in 2016 and in 2018, he was returned to jail again, this time after a “brutal attack in his home that included state agents tasering his young son.”

At the time, the American Center for Law and Justice, which worked on behalf of Nadarkhani, said, “For an Iranian citizen and father to be beaten in his own home – in front of his terrified family – is abhorrent. And to use a taser on a child is nothing short of savagery. And all because Pastor Youcef preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Long the world’s most Christian nation, America today is being taken over by a new “official” national religion, one being imposed on the entire populace by every major societal institution, from government, media and big tech, to academia, entertainment and business.

This new state religion is Wokeism. “Going woke” conjures up visions of someone claiming to be acutely sensitive (“awake”) to “systemic social and political injustice.” And not just alleged bigotry against blacks, but toward every other “minority” as well, from LGBT folk – especially everything transgender and “nonbinary” – to “undocumented immigrants.” All of them, being VICTIMS, intrinsically more virtuous than the shameful oppressor class: primarily heterosexual white males.

This new “woke” consciousness has turned America upside-down – from the nationwide Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots in 2020, to tearing down of historic monuments, to demanding multi-million-dollar reparation payments for blacks, to appointing transgenders as top government officials, to rampant reverse discrimination in every area of life, to the U.S. military imposing mandatory “diversity training” and transgender pronoun use on all personnel, causing recruitment to disastrously plummet.

Yet there is hope. Being “saved” – which in Wokeism is called being “woke” – is largely a matter of worshipping victimhood by becoming an “ally” and “defender” of all the many victim classes, and a determined enemy of the straight white male oppressor class. Thus, “joining the righteous” as an ally – even if one is cursed to be a straight white male – opens the door mercifully for salvation, even to the most wretched.

That is the power of the religion of Wokeism. And it’s explored as never before in the February 2023 issue of WND’s critically acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine. If you’ve ever wondered, for example, exactly how the most radical elements in American society are successfully pressuring the biggest corporations into adopting the most outrageous and immoral policies imaginable, even when doing so permanently damages and devalues the company, the stunning answers are in this issue of Whistleblower, titled “WOKEISM: AMERICA’S OFFICIAL STATE RELIGION.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.