The girls, aged 12, 13 and 17, were held separately in the home and haven’t had a bath in almost half a year. They told cops their captors, their mother and stepfather, fed them only once a day. The adults are in police custody.
Commentary by: Gordon King
American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran for one year. His crime? Being a Christian pastor. Christians around the world have been praying for the pastors release from prison. Pressure has been put on the American government to do something. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is fighting for the release of pastor Abedini.
Finally, after one year, President Obama has asked for the release of the pastor. Why the sudden change of heart? Only God knows for sure, but without the prayers of the saints I don’t think it would have happened. I have to give thanks to President Obama for this act, even though it took him one year to respond. He deserves credit for making the right move.
Pastor Saeed is still not free. We do not know how the Iranian government will respond to the President’s request. The pastor needs our continued prayers and support. Continue to pray for Pastor Saeed and his family. God Bless!
Update: Hopes to bring husband home before daughter’s 8th birthday
(WND) – Michael Carl
The wife of an American pastor who’s been jailed in Iran for one year says she’s grateful that President Obama has finally asked for the release of her imprisoned husband, but vows continued pressure is needed to bring him home.
In a statement to the press, Naghmeh Abedini said Obama’s request is a positive development in her husband Saeed’s saga.
The Libyan government has now arrested seven people for preaching the gospel and tortured at least one, claiming the missionaries are a threat to national security.
Morningstar News reported that among the seven arrested are at least three Egyptians, in addition to a Swedish-American missionary, a South African and a South Korean.
Middle East analyst Raymond Ibrahim reported that the leader of the Libyan security forces, Hussein Bin Hmeid, claimed the missionary activities threaten Libya’s “national security.”
Bin Hmeid tried to justify the Islamic ban on free speech, Ibrahim said, noting proselytizing is forbidden in Libya.
The Libyan official said: “We are a 100-percent Muslim country, and this kind of action affects our national security.”
Ibrahim pointed out that “Muslim governments – most notably Iran’s – constantly suppress any talk of Christianity, claiming it threatens ‘our national security.’”
Arrrests for promoting another religion as an act of preserving “national security” underscores what Ibrahim called a “tribal mentality.”
International Christian Concern Middle East analyst Aidan Clay noted that in Libya, Egypt and several Middle Eastern countries, “Islamists have gained significant political influence, and sentences against proselytizing, blasphemy and apostasy are being enforced to an extent never seen under former dictatorships.”
He added that Libya is showing its true intentions with the arrest of the seven foreigners. However, he said the arrest of the seven is only one of several anti-Christian actions.
In December, two Egyptian Christians were killed in a bomb blast at a Coptic church in the Mediterranean town of Dafniya, Clay said.
“Christian graves have also been routinely vandalized in the country for more than a year.”
More recently, Catholic nuns living in three communities in eastern Libya left their congregations following increasing threats by Islamists, he said.
Citing Father Dominique Rezeau, Clay said there were as many as 100,000 Christians in Libya before the country’s revolution, primarily among the expatriate community, but today only a few thousand remain.
He anticipates that conditions for Libya’s small Christian community will only grow more severe.
“Islamists are growing bolder with every new accusation against a Christian or other minority for proselytizing or being involved in some other type of ‘illegal’ religious activity. Sadly, the arrests of Christians and attacks on the Christian community are bound to escalate as a result,” he said.
Ibrahim said public pressure can help secure the release of the prisoners.
“As for publicity helping secure their releases, based on my observations, yes: whenever the plight of a Christian minority suffering under Islam’s anti-Christian laws actually gets sufficient media attention – like the Iranian pastor and the Pakistani girl – they are eventually released,” he said.
Ibrahim added that he doesn’t expect any protests from the White House.
“As for Obama – considering the extent he and his administration went to cover up the Benghazi diplomatic facility attack – I do not expect he will want to address this matter, either,” he said. “For, once again, we get to see how the government he helped install is no friend to freedom, to Americans, or to Christianity.”
Muslim government renews attack on Christian
Reports coming out of Iran say that the Iranian government again has arrested and jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.
The American Center for Law and Justice reports that a judge in an Iranian court is ordering that Nadarkhani spend the final 45 days of his prison term on other charges behind bars.
The ACLJ said it was only international pressure that freed Nadarkhani earlier this year.
“Iran’s brutal repression and persecution of Christianity has not gone unnoticed. The type of immense international pressure placed on Iran earlier this year that led to Pastor Youcef’s prior release may be the only hope for freedom for these men,” the ACLJ statement said.
WND reported in August that after Nadarkhani’s 1,000th day in jail, the pastor was likely facing additional charges.
The English language site for the Farsi Christian News Network said that Nadarkhani would be charged with banditry and extortion. The network report says Nadarkhani was supposed to appear in court earlier, but there’s no record the hearing took place.
The Assist News Service reported that an Iranian website claimed Nadarkhani was accused of “security crimes.”
“The article claimed that Youcef Nadarkhani is accused of rape and repeated extortion,” Assist reported.
Nadarkhani’s arrest comes only days after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard arrested and detained Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini.
WND reported last week that the American pastor was being held in the “brutal” Evin Prison.
The pastor, who holds dual Iranian-American citizenship, was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Abedini was arrested shortly after arriving in Iran in September to visit his parents. Reports of his arrest didn’t become known until this past week.
Abedini’s captors have refused to disclose the charges, but the American Center for Law and Justice says that the prison is “especially brutal” and that he’s in jail because he formerly ran a network of house churches while he still lived in Iran.
Reports explained he returned to Iran to work on an orphanage.