by Jack Minor –
An Iranian pastor has been convicted and could face the death penalty for leaving the Islamic faith because, according to mainstream Islamic teaching, “everyone is born a Muslim.”
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has caught the attention of the world after being convicted for leaving the Islamic faith, even though he says he has never been a Muslim. Nardarkhani, who is facing a possible death sentence has been caught in a catch 22 regarding Muslim teaching.
While Nadarkhani tells the world that he was never a Muslim that statement is contrary to Muslim teaching. According to Islam, everyone is born a Muslim. Thus, Nadarkhani or for that matter, any person who becomes a Christian or follows any other religion has “left Islam.”
On page 28, in the introduction of a copy of the Qur’an, printed by Ansariyan Publications in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the translator, M.H. Shakir in the section “Islam and Muslims” states, “In fact, every child that is born is a Muslim. It is the parents who make him a Jew, Christian or Hindu.”
Based on this teaching, even if Nadarkhani had never visited a mosque a day in his life he is still considered a Muslim. Therefore, when he accepted Christ as his savior and became a Christian he left the Muslim faith whether he knew it or not.
The Gazette asked the Council on Arab Islamic Relations if Muslim teaching does in fact teach that everyone is born a Muslim. CAIR did not respond to our inquiries.
Pamela Geller, founder of Atlas Shrugs, and Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, have both confirmed that it is mainstream and standard Muslim theology that everyone is born a Muslim.
Iranian Pastor Hormoz Shariet with Iran Alive Ministries, says many people in the West do not understand how dire the plight of Christians in Iran is. “Islamic law states that it is criminal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity and it is in fact punishable by death,” Shariet continued, saying it is common for revolutionary Guards to arrest a Christian and not notify the family. “They can’t have a lawyer, not even a formal charge. Sometimes they even get killed without a formal charge.”
Nadarkhani is still awaiting sentencing for his “crime.” The Iranian government has been under intense pressure from international groups and governments to free Nadarkhani.
The White House has issued a statement condemning Nadarkhani’s sentence, “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.”
Christians in Iraq have fared little better. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were an estimated one million Christians in the country. A 2009 report from the State Department shows the number appears to have dropped to under 500,000.
Tens of thousands of Christians have fled the country to avoid persecution from Muslim extremists in Iraq. The violence has caused some to wonder what will happen once the U.S. military pulls out at the end of this year.