FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Billy Graham and Franklin Graham Highlight American Pastor Saeed’s Case
Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine recently highlighted Pastor Saeed’s plight. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of both Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, also issued a call to prayer for Pastor Saeed, highlighted the effort for his freedom at SaveSaeed.org, and urged supporters to join a worldwide prayer vigil being organized for the one-year anniversary of Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment.
Decision Magazine explained:
In Ward 350, Saeed Abedini is kept with 30-40 other prisoners, twice the legal limit. When he sleeps at night, the arms and legs of his fellow inmates are draped around him.
On several occasions, Saeed has been beaten by guards, resulting in internal bleeding. The psychological harassment is unending. Twice—once last fall and again in May—Saeed was moved into solitary confinement. The first confinement lasted four weeks, the second for 10 days.
His offense, according to the Iranian government and court system that arrested him and sentenced him to eight years, was “endangering national security.”
But the real reason Saeed approaches his first anniversary of imprisonment is because of his faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior who found him in his Tehran bedroom more than a decade ago.
Franklin Graham stated in his call to prayer:
Religious intolerance continues to threaten the lives of Christians in Iran—even when those Christians are Americans. . . . I recently spoke with Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh. She shared how frightening it is to hear reports from family in Iran that her husband is being beaten and tortured. Naghmeh worries that she and her two young children may never see Saeed again.
He went on to explain the frustration expressed by Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, at the often unresponsiveness of our own government to this U.S. citizen, whose only “crime” is his faith in Christ.
She’s also discouraged by the fact that our own government seems to have abandoned them. President Obama has been silent on the issue as an American Christian endures the horrors of Evin Prison.
I’m thankful that Secretary of State John Kerry finally called for Pastor Saeed’s release six months after his arrest. Sadly, since then our government appears to have done little to pressure Iran to release a fellow American citizen.
As the one-year anniversary of Pastor Saeed’s wrongful imprisonment nears, we are ramping up efforts to raise awareness about his case and pressure Iran for his release.
Franklin Graham and many others are joining in on this effort. As he explained, “Sept. 26 marks the one-year anniversary of Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment. Please join me in praying for Pastor Saeed and his family. I also encourage churches and people everywhere to join the hundreds of thousands of others who are showing solidarity with this courageous man of faith at SaveSaeed.org.”
Prayer vigils are being organized at state and national capitals all over the world. You can learn more information about time and location in dozens of cities at SaveSaeed.org/VIGIL.
We will continue to bring you more information about Pastor Saeed, our efforts for his freedom, and the latest information about the prayer vigil for the one-year anniversary of his imprisonment.
Please continue to pray and share his story today. We are Pastor Saeed’s voice.
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.