On Friday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told the audience at the Values Voter Summit he will do everything he can to free American pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran.
“In Iran, American pastor Saeed Abedini is detained indefinitely, facing physical and psychological torture. They ask him to renounce his faith,” said Paul. “I’ve introduced a resolution to the Senate that says and calls for and says we should do everything within our power, within our voice, from the White House, from the State Department, from our government to release Saeed Abedini.”
Abedini converted to Christianity from Islam in 2000. Iran does recognize Christianity, but if a Muslim converts they are treated as second-class citizens in the country. Abedini and his wife, Naghmeh, moved to America in 2005, where he became an ordained minister in 2008 and a citizen in 2010. He returned to Iran in 2012 to visit family and work on an orphanage in Rasht, but Iranian authorities took his passport and placed him under house arrest.
Paul went on to talk about the persecution of Christians across Muslim countries. Last month, the radical Islamist terror group al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya and specifically targeted non-Muslims. Two suicide bombers also attacked an Anglican church in Pakistan, killing over 85 civilians. And in Syria, rebels are invading Christian towns and forcing residents to convert to Islam or die.
“Across the globe, Christians are under attack, almost as if we lived in the Middle Ages or if we lived under early Pagan Roman rule…It’s almost as if that is happening again throughout the Middle East,” said Paul.
“This administration does nothing to stop it. And it can be argued that they’re giving aid and comfort to those who tolerate these crimes.”
“We send billions of dollars to Egypt, to Pakistan. We’ve helped put new Islamic regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. President Obama now sends arms to Islamic rebels in Syria. In Egypt, the mob attacked our embassy, climbed on top of our embassy and burned our flag,” said Paul.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough. I say not one penny more to any country that would burn the American flag. We must work to ensure that our country, our policies, our tax dollars are on the side of ending this violence rather than encouraging those who perpetrate it.”
On September 27, the one-year mark of Abedini’s arrest, hundreds of people including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), protested and prayed outside the White House. On Friday, the European Parliament passed a resolution demanding Iran release Abedini.