Who will speak up?

In our country we have plenty of discussions about religious tolerance, and it can be said that many today are much more tolerant of non-Christian faiths than of traditional Christian faiths. But even if there is some imbalance in the USA, we are committed to religious tolerance. I believe in and defend religious tolerance in the USA, and that means I would support the freedom for Muslims to build a mosque in my neighborhood.

But I am not convinced that enough Muslims in the USA, who are both participating in religious tolerance in the USA and spreading that faith in the USA because of tolerance, are speaking up for religious tolerance or against religious intolerance in traditional Muslim countries.

Like Iran, and here’s a story and I wonder what American Muslims are saying about this? I call especially on American Muslims to speak to this situation.

An Iranian pastor could be executed if he refuses to give up his faith. Rev Yousef Nadarkhani has twice refused to recant his Christian faith during two court hearings held in Rasht, Gilan Province on 25 and 26 September. Sources close to Christian Solidarity Worldwide indicate that recanting will again be demanded at sessions scheduled for 27 and 28 September, and that if he continues to refuse, he will be executed thereafter.

Pastor Nadarkhani was tried and found guilty of apostasy (abandoning Islam) in September 2010 by the court of appeals in Rasht. The verdict was delivered verbally in court, while written confirmation of the death sentence was received nearly two months later. At the appeal in June 2011, the Supreme Court of Iran upheld Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s sentence, but asked the court in Rasht, which issued the initial sentence, to re-examine whether or not he had been a practicing Muslim adult prior to converting to Christianity. The written verdict of the Supreme Court’s decision included provision for annulment of the death sentence if Pastor Nadarkhani recanted his faith.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.apprentice2jesus.com Dan

    Thank you for posting this. An update I saw from a missionary states that the pastor has lost his life. May we hold our church family all over the world in prayer.

  • Joe Canner

    This is the basis for the argument that is often used to justify infringing on the rights of Muslims in this country: “I can’t worship freely in a Muslim country, so why should we allow them to worship freely here?” Clearly this is not an appropriate response, as we should be better than that.

    However, the question of religious freedom in Muslim countries is still valid, and I like the approach of calling on American Muslims to raise this issue, since having American Christians raise the issue doesn’t seem to do much good.

  • Robert

    I don’t know what US Muslims say, but I do know what my wife, a devout Muslim, says. She regards that sort of murderous intolerance with total contempt.

    The death sentence for apostasy is in the Qur’an, but if you look closely it’s actually talking about people who were betraying the Muslim community – committing treason, in fact – and not just changing their faith.

  • Robin

    Do any readers of this blog have sufficient exposure to large numbers of Muslim-Americans or Muslim blogs to know whether or not they have been making such appeals?

  • TJJ

    Agree with post. And I will take it one step further. Imagine the uproar if a US court was going to execute someone who converted to Islam, and would not recant and embrace Christianity.

  • http://www.MannsWord.blogspot.com Daniel Mann

    It is relevant to look at the intolerance with which Muslims operate in their own countries and how they reduce their religious minorities to dhimmi status. This will give us a hint how they will act here and in Europe once they get the upper political hand.

  • Patrick

    Assuming he has been murdered, one of our brothers has died for his refusal to deny Christ. For being associated with The Lord, Jesus Christ.

    I had prayed for him earlier as had my family. Assuming he has been executed, I have no doubt God will use this terrible incident to advance His kingdom.

    That’s my prayer and I pray for the perps and the family, for the people of Iran. God loves these folks. He loved Caiaphas and it was His will Caiaphas himself would see the light.

    Prayers also specially for his wife and children, God love those folks. They will need God’s grace more than ever if this has been done.

  • Laz

    Then God bless the man for dying in the name of Jesus Christ.

    With that being said, doesn’t this further expose just how distant the US is from these countries in terms of morality? People want to hoot and holler about how unfair the US is and you don’t even have freedom of religion elsewhere. I guarantee you won’t hear one atheist uproar or protest about this yet you can bet if a Christian were mistreating a Muslim it would be on the front page of every newspaper. Jesus was right when he warned us that the world would hate us…..

  • http://www.fivedills.com/blog.html FiveDills

    The problem is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism in all religions has no tolerance for those of other faiths/beliefs. Consider the Westboro Baptist Church and Terry Jones (Koran burner). Now, imagine these same folks governing your nation. That is what Iran is currently facing. Religious fundamentalists are governing Iran. The people have no say. Therefore, to claim that some Muslims are not practicing religious tolerance is unfair. Yes, it would be nice to see American Muslims publicly denouncing the execution of a Christian pastor in Iran, but then again where was the outcry from prominent Christian leaders when Christian extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Norway?

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    Laz –

    I guarantee you won’t hear one atheist uproar or protest about this yet you can bet if a Christian were mistreating a Muslim it would be on the front page of every newspaper.

    Hi, Laz. I’m an atheist and I’ve been signing petitions and publicizing it. Just, y’know, FYI.

  • Fish

    Murder by the state is murder by the state, and our nation executes plenty of people. High numbers of executions are even cheered and serve as a qualification for higher office. When we hold life so cheap that we can cheer execution without being unduly concerned about innocence, we have no reason to feel morally superior to Iran. We just kill people for different reasons.

  • http://utmgr.org Joel Shaffer

    fivedills,

    Interesting that you use Anders Behring as one of your examples of fundamentalism in Christianity when Anders proclaims himself as a Darwinist with no personal faith. He was totally against a Christian Fundamentalist Theocracy. Probably not a good comparison…..

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=325765

    As for the crazies in Westboro, they are a family cult that calls themselves a church.

    There are a several thousand self-identifying fundamental churches scattered across the country (GARBC, IFCA, BBF, FBFA, and etc). Are you claiming that they would be just as extreme as the religious establishment that controls Iran?

  • John Jacobi

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