The Corner

Iran: Execution for Apostasy Seems Imminent

The American interfaith delegation — Catholic cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Episcopal bishop John Bryson Chane, and Council on American Islamic Relations director Nihad Awad — who made headlines when they traveled to Tehran and secured the release of the two American hikers last week should pack their bags again. They need to make a return trip. And they better hurry.

As early as this week, the British-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports, Iran may execute Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his Christian faith.

As my colleague Paul Marshall recently wrote, evangelical Pastor Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy because he converted to Christianity. He had been tried and found guilty a year ago, even though the court also found that he had never been a practicing Muslim as an adult. Nadarkhani, from Rasht, on the Caspian Sea, converted to Christianity as a teenager.

Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict in June, ordered that the pastor be given four chances to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Two hearings for this purpose took place yesterday and today. Two more are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Pastor had been arrested in 2009 when he tried to register his church with authorities. His defense lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah was himself sentenced in July to nine years imprisonment for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime.” He is now appealing.

According to the U.S. State Department, if carried out, Pastor Nadarkhani’s execution would be the first for apostasy since 1990 in Iran.

— Nina Shea is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co-author, with Paul Marshall, of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedoms Worldwide (Oxford University Press, November 2011).

Nina Shea Nina Shea is the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a co-author of Silenced, How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Most Popular

U.S.

The Inquisitor Has No Clothes

This is a column about impeachment, but first, a confession: I think I might be guilty of insider trading. At this point, I would like to assure my dear friends at the SEC that I do not mean this in any actionable legal sense, but only in principle. Some time ago, I was considering making an investment in a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Shaming Women Who Vote Right

Some progressives have decided that rather than convincing women that their candidates and policy proposals are better than those of conservatives, they will shame women who fail to vote for the Left by defining them all as racist and self-loathing tools of the patriarchy. Think I’m exaggerating? See this ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Way Forward from the Midterms

With the 2018 midterm elections now in the rearview mirror, Republicans have been awakened to a simple fact: The laws of political gravity apply to President Trump. Democrats won sweeping victories in the House, kept their Senate losses to a near-minimum despite a brutal map, and took down-ballot races with ... Read More