Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Three Pastors Life Death and Religion in Muslim Iran
In November 1993, not far from ancient Babylon, where Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pitched into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, the Rev. Mehdi Dibaj huddled in a Mazandaran Province prison cell praying about how he could defend himself from capital charges. A compactly built 60-year-old man, his short, salt-and-pepper hair bristled above dark, deep-set eyes and bunchy cheeks. His cell contained a cot, a hole-in-the-floor toilet, a line of small snapshots of his four children, and, under the high window that afforded light, a cross fashioned from twisted palm fronds.
Dibaj was accused of being a Christian—more particularly an “apostate,” one who has given up Islam to accept Christianity. Two years earlier Dibaj wrote to his 17-year-old son Yousef, “If we want to walk close with God, we must go into the fire.”
Since Dibaj was imprisoned the first time in 1983 for 68 days, and beginning with his re-arrest in 1984, the Assemblies of God minister had spent almost ten years behind bars. The few visitors he had been allowed, usually at six-month intervals, always came ready to offer encouragement.
The authorities tried their best to break him. Their first approach was to cajole him back into conformity, telling him they knew him to be a good Muslim at heart. He need only sign a paper to that effect and he could go home.
Read the rest of it here.
Links to this post: