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Why doesn’t the press care that Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces execution for refusing to deny Jesus Christ?

The former Muslim turned Christian preacher in Iran has twice refused to recant his Christian faith during two court hearings held in Rasht, Gilan Province, on September 25 and 26.

“Sources close to Christian Solidarity Worldwide indicate that recanting will again be demanded at sessions scheduled for September 27 and 28, and that if he continues to refuse, he will be executed thereafter,” writes Christian author Terry Mattingly on the website GetReligion, who observes:

Once again, we find ourselves in the parallel universe of alternative, advocacy, alternative, “conservative news.”

The only problem is that the story in question is worthy of actual mainstream news. There is nothing “conservative” about it, for old-fashioned liberals who are committed to religious liberty and human rights, as defined by the United Nations.

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.

Following investigation, the court in Rasht has ruled that Pastor Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim adult before becoming a Christian. However, the court has decided that he remains guilty of apostasy because he has Muslim ancestry.

Mattingly applauds the Washington Post‘s “On Faith” section for covering the story, however:

Sadly, this piece of hard news is found in the midst of a blog post that, while backed by numerous links to hard documentation, is written in a rather typical advocacy journalism style. That’s normal, at a conservative weblog — even one hosted by the Post.

My point, once again, is simple: Where is the actual news coverage by the mainstream press? This is a life-or-death issue in a land that is of great concern, these days, to the U.S. government.

Recalling the coverage given to three American hikers held by the Iranians when they strayed into Iran, Mattingly notes that the mainstream press will scover Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani when he is dead.

Mattingly sadly adds:

If only he was an American who was hiking, not a blasphemer in Iran.

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