Just another sad persecution story

Here we go again. I have been watching to see if the MSM notices this story. Sadly, I don’t think it’s on the radar. It seems that an Assemblies of God preacher in Iran may lose his head because of his faith and his voice. Here is a brief clip from Compass Direct, a Christian wire service:

Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand, a former Muslim, faces possible execution, the first religiously motivated death sentence in Iran since 1990. Authorities said Pourmand was scheduled to appear before the Islamic court of Iran in Tehran, but they ordered him moved to stand trial in Bandar-i Bushehr, his hometown.

Arrested last September when security police raided a church conference he was attending, the Assemblies of God lay pastor faces charges of apostasy from Islam and of proselytizing Muslims. Both “crimes” are punishable by death.

Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a rather horrible violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document, which usually receives strong support from Western elites, bravely continues to state:

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

It seems that European Union authorities, way back in the fall, did file a formal protest with Iranian authorities about the arrests of Christian clergy and laity as an “infringement of the freedom of religion or belief.” Good for them. The White House ought to try that.

And news coverage? A quick Google on Hamid Pourmand yields precisely what you would expect it to yield — a variety of news reports at Christian web pages.

Sad. Tragic, even. Predictable.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

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  • http://www.urbanangel.net andy chamberlain

    The persecutuon of Chrisitans continues to receive very little attention, and represents a vast hypocracy on the part of both the Western Governments and Islamic States. The hypocracy stems from the fact that similar treatment of a muslim leader in the West would be met by outreage and protest, and rightly so. We must stop applying one standard to Western governments and another to Islamic states. I genuinlely wonder how much the Church at large needs to take up this challenge. Are we prepared to lobby and campaign? Are we prepared to suffer, and to what degree, in fellowship with brothers and sisters around the world?

  • http://bonovox.squarespace.com fdr

    Did not the Prophet wipe out whole tribes of Jews living on the Arabian peninsula?

  • http://jcrumpdexter.net Judy Crump

    Do hope that we can provide the support needed to eliminate this terrible situation…we claim to be civilized society… not barbaric

  • Phil Blackburn

    There seems to be very little concern in churches about Christians persecuted in other countries, so why should the mainstream media care about them?

    Apostasy, in particular, is a major issue in Islamic cultures. If you are interested in knowing about, even supporting, persecuted Christians across the world, see, for example, the Open Doors website or the Barnabas Fund website )which evidently feels the need to justify why Christians should help Christians).

  • http://www.joe-perez.com/ Joe Perez

    I second everything in tmatt’s post.

    And I also wonder how many Christians who are outraged at the terrible injustice facing Pourmand are silent in the face of persecution of gays in the dozens of countries where homosexuals may be routinely imprisoned for ten years, receive life sentences, or a dozen countries including Iran where they face capital punishment. Iran needs a secular government, not religious rule, to truly provide greater freedoms for all … not just to win conservative Christians the right to prosleytze Muslims and imprison more homosexuals.


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