A prime indication of a free society is that people are free to believe in what they want when it comes to religion. The only usual proviso is that a person’s beliefs do not frighten the horses or disturb the peace. In the main, Christians accept this, Jews accept this, Hindus accept this and Sikhs accept this. Basically a person should in the words of the Biblical Prophet Jeremiah, ‘seek the peace of the city in which you are exiled, because if the city prospers then you yourself will prosper.’
It’s not a hard thing to understand, if you live in a place, help it, be loyal to it and do not disturb the peace. That loyalty should also be reciprocated and if a person has a belief that is different from the majority, then such people, provided that they are not disruptive, should be left alone in peace. That doesn’t mean that a member of a minority religion should not challenge an injustice, but there should not be Carte Blanche for minorities to be violent, aggressive, disruptive or criminal. People should be treated the same under the law whatever their belief, provided that their ideology isn’t trying to overthrow the state.
Sadly, the concept of religious freedom is lacking in many of the world’s Bearded Savage nations and being a member of a minority religion, such as Christianity or Judaism or anything else puts such a person at grave risk of harm, even when their beliefs are not threat to the state or the majority of those whose religion is Islam.
Iran, today’s Bearded Savage, is a country noted for its lack of religious freedom and even those Christians who are quite happy to be loyal to the country of Iran and who serve the country and do not disturb the peace are in an invidious position.
This brings us to today’s Bearded Savage story which tells of a Christian preacher who is now in prison under threat of death for organising Christian worship and also because he is a convert to Christianity.
Saeed Abedini, 32 who was born in Iran but is now an American citizen, has been held since July 2011 on the grounds of harming Iranian national security.
The UK Daily Telegraph said:
“US officials have already voiced concerns over the fate of Mr Abedini, who has been held in custody since July 2011 after being arrested while on a visit to Iran from America.
His wife, Najmeh, says he has suffered beatings during interrogation and has expressed fears for his life in letters to her.
“This is the process in my life today: one day I am told I will be freed and allowed to see my kids on Christmas (which was a lie) and the next day I am told I will hang for my faith in Jesus,” Mr Abedini, a father-of-two, wrote in one letter. “One day there are intense pains after beatings in interrogations, the next day they are nice to you and offer you candy.”
The origins of the charges against Mr Abdini are not clear. But the American Centre for Law and Justice, a Christian advocacy group founded by the evangelist preacher, Pat Robertson, said it was connected with starting a home church movement.
“His court file indicated that this national security charge was directly related to his work starting a house church movement in Iran,” the organisation said in a statement.
Harming national security is a capital crime under Iran’s legal statute. Critics say it is vaguely defined and used to suppress opponents of the country’s Islamic regime.
Mr Abdini, who converted to Christianity at the age of 20, was building an orphanage near the city of Rasht on the Caspian Sea, fuelled by a belief that the Bible teaches helping widows and orphans, according to his wife.
He was detained in 2009 but later released after agreeing to sign a commitment not to engage in religious activities such as working in underground churches.
Mr Abidini had travelled to Iran nine times since his detention before being arrested again. “He had no worries that he would be arrested, believing that he kept his end of the promise and that the government would keep their end,” she told AFP.”
Apart from the terrible indictment on the situation regarding religious freedom in Iran, this case also throws up in sharp relief the differences how we in the West have regarded Islam and how Islam regards us.
In the West and the UK in particular, various arms of government have gone out of their way to accommodate Islam, even when the behaviours of many of the adherents of Islam leave a lot to be desired. We even have police officers agitating for mosques to be built where there are local objections to such a entity being established.
This openness and acceptance of different faiths has not been reciprocated by Iran and also by many other nations of the Islamic world. It is still an offence in many Islamic countries to change your religion to something other than Islam or distribute Bibles, or any other non-Islamic religious literature.
Maybe it is time to look how followers of different beliefs are treated when Islam has the upper hand, and dish out to Islam a little bit of what Islam dishes out to others, and not be so blindly accommodating to Islam. Peace and respect are not a one way street, there has to be reciprocal change from the Islamic world and they should stop oppressing their religious minorities. Maybe one way to get that would be to stop granting the followers of Islam the special privileges that the followers of Islam so often demand of us in the West.
Original Daily Telegraph story on Mr Abidini
Herefords Islam fellating ‘useful idiot’ police officer
Hat Tip: www.religionofpeace.com