I'm still using Google News to search for mainstream news media reports on the fate of the Iranian pastor who faces the death penalty for being a Muslim apostate, even though he has never practice Islam. Here's the latest from this morning -- from a conservative news source, of course:
Today, evangelical Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith before a court in Iran for the third time. He will be brought to the court again for this purpose tomorrow, for the final time. If he refuses, his death sentence for apostasy can then be carried out. ...
Those of us in the free world should press our members of Congress to speak up. Not only were American hikers accused of spying for Israeli recently released, but 13 Iranian Jews convicted in 2000 of spying for Israel and facing the death penalty were all released by 2003 -- but only after voices had been raised in Washington and other Western capitals.
This note at National Review Online came from the Catholic activist Nina Shea, who directs the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. Actually, that ID tag is severely lacking. Here's a bit more biographical information:
Since 1999, Shea has served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. She has been appointed as a U.S. delegate to the United Nation's main human rights body by both Republican and Democratic administrations. ...
For the ten years prior to joining Hudson, Shea worked at Freedom House, where she directed the Center for Religious Freedom, an entity which she had helped found in 1986 as the Puebla Institute.
Yes, we live in an interesting age when people do human-rights work at Freedom House (founded with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt) and then do the same work at the Hudson Institute. As I keep saying, defending the rights of religious minorities is not a left vs. right issue these days. At least, it shouldn't be.
I have seen some editorials (Fox News here) on the Yousef Nadarkhani case, but no mainstream news reports in the American media. It is possible that I have missed stories in the global press. Please help me watch.
Over at the Washington Times, an editorial provided some additional background on why this case is so bizarre, even by the standards if Iranian courts:
In the fall of 2010, a Revolutionary Tribunal affirmed the death sentence, and the case was appealed to Iran’s Supreme Court. In June, the high court asked the lower court in Rasht to review whether Mr. Nadarkhani had been a practicing Muslim at the age of maturity, which is 15 in Iran. Prosecutors acknowledged that he had never been a Muslim as an adult but said that the apostasy law still applies because he has “Islamic ancestry.” ...
Mr. Nadarkhani may face execution as early as Thursday. The U.S. State Department has registered a protest, but Tehran has shown no response to international pressure. Members of international church groups are fasting and praying for Mr. Nadarkhani, who remains committed to his beliefs even facing the gallows. “I don’t need to write anything further about the basis of faith,” he wrote to his supporters earlier this year. “Let us remember that beyond beautiful or painful feelings, only three things remain: Faith, Hope and Love. It is important for believers to make sure which kind of Faith, Hope and Love will remain.”
Thursday is tomorrow. Maybe there will be coverage by dawn, especially if the pastor is executed.