To the Maronite Patriarch Bchara Al Raei: Read, Repent And offer The Penances
By: Elias Bejjani*

October 02/11

Below is an open and actual message for your Beatitude, a message from Iran.

Please note that an Iranian court has imposed the death sentence on Yousef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old protestant preacher, for apostasy after he repeatedly refused to recant his Christian faith.

Against all Christian values, teachings and the faith of the majority of your people the Maronites all over the world, you have boldly and with no shame sided with the Iranian and Syrian regimes of  Axis of Evil.

Not only you hailed their criminal atrocities but also you have been advocating for their Hezbollah's proxy arsenal of destruction and terrorism in Lebanon.

We wonder how a man of cloth with you noble status and position would abandon Jesus Christ, as well as the historical convictions of the Maronite Church and replicate Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Jesus who handed Him to the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver. Below is a report, an actual one, a human Dilemma that shows in reality how the Iranian regime that you blindly support is protecting and safeguarding the Christians. Is this the kind of protection that you are endeavoring to bring to the Lebanese Christians? Shame on you!!

We call on you to repent, ask Almighty God for forgiveness and to immediately revoke all your pro Axis of Evil stances and offer the required penances.

At the same time we reiterate our call for all the Maronites in the USA to boycott all the events where you will be present during your pastoral visit. Again you do not represent us, we the Maronites and accordingly we have no what so ever obligation to abide with your instructions and political stances.

Read the below report and take action!!

Death Sentence on Christian Leader Yousef Nadarkhani
30 SEP 2011  Comments'I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant.'
[ quote, unquote ] An Iranian court has imposed the death sentence on Yousef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old protestant preacher, for apostasy after he repeatedly refused to recant his Christian faith. The verdict has generated international condemnation this week. The following are excerpts from the verdict and U.S. and British reaction.
Reported excerpts from the court verdict"He has frequently denied the prophethood of the great prophet of Islam and the rule of the sacred religion of Islam. And he has proven his apostasy by organizing evangelistic meetings and inviting others to Christianity, establishing a house church, baptizing people, expressing his faith to others and denying Islamic values."
-- National Post
"Yousef Nadarkhani confessed that he converted to Christianity and helped other people to convert and named himself a shepherd and insisted in Christianity. He doesn't believe in Mohammad, Imams and the Quran.
"The contents of the file also support these facts but investigation is needed to prove that he was a Muslim after the age of maturity and practicing Islam. There is not any witness from friends, relatives, family and Muslim people who were in contact with him so the file is incomplete.
"According to the sentence of Imams such as [Ayatollah] Khomeini, the witness is needed to prove whether or not he was a Muslim and if he was a Muslim but remained unwilling to repent, the execution ruling is to be issued."
-- New Statesman
Pastor Nadarkhani statement refusing to recant: "I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant."
White House statement on the verdict Sept. 29: "The United States condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people. That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran's own international obligations.
"A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities' utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.
Cong. John Boehner on religious persecution in Iran, Sept. 28: "Religious freedom is a universal human right. The reports that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani will be sentenced to death by the Iranian government unless he disavows his Christian faith are distressing for people of every country and creed. While Iran's government claims to promote tolerance, it continues to imprison many of its people because of their faith. This goes beyond the law to an issue of fundamental respect for human dignity. I urge Iran's leaders to abandon this dark path, spare Yousef Nadarkhani's life, and grant him a full and unconditional release.
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Sept 28: "Despite the finding that Mr. Nadarkhani did not convert to Christianity as an adult, the court continues to demand that he recant his faith or otherwise be executed. The most recent court proceedings are not only a sham, but are contrary to Iranian law and international human rights standards, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague's statement Sept. 28: "I deplore reports that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Church leader, could be executed imminently after refusing an order by the Supreme Court of Iran to recant his faith. This demonstrates the Iranian regime's continued unwillingness to abide by its constitutional and international obligations to respect religious freedom. I pay tribute to the courage shown by Pastor Nadarkhani who has no case to answer and call on the Iranian authorities to overturn his sentence."
**This article is presented by Tehran Bureau, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as part of the Iran project at

Elias Bejjani*
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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