“I refuse to belong to a religion that will not not have me as a member”
—brave Muslim “apostate,” Ibn Warraq (with apologies to Groucho Marx)
Two Iranian Supreme Court justices have denied an appeal of Youcef Nadarkhani’s December 5, 2010 death sentence for the uniquely Islamic “crime” of apostasy. Islam stands alone amongst all modern faiths, adamantly denying its votaries freedom of conscience, as guaranteed, for example, by Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”), and insisting upon lethal punishment for “public” apostates, in full accord with the Sharia.
A translation of the Iranian Supreme Court verdict makes illuminating, if depressing reading:
Issued by section 27 Supreme Court Judge Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi
Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32 years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad, at the age of 19.
He has often participated in Christian worship and organized home church services, evangelizing and has been baptized and baptized others, converting Muslims to Christianity. He has been accused of breaking Islamic Law that from puberty (15 years according to Islamic law) until the age of 19 the year 1996, he was raised a Muslim in a Muslim home. During court trials, he denied the prophecy of Mohammad and the authority of Islam. He has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim.
During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir -olvasileh (one of Khomeni’s books about Sharia Law and Khamenie’s and Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s fatwa) His sentence was appealed by his attorney and sent to the supreme court.
The Supreme Courts Response
In the name of Allah
June 12, 2011
(This subpoena states):
We know that Mr. Nadarkhani has confessed that in his heart and in his actions he has denied being Muslim and converted to Christianity and has advertised and encouraged other Muslims to convert to Christianity. And because of advertising and pastoring a church repeatedly professed his Christian faith and denied the prophet Mohammad and the 12th Imam and denied the entire Koran and truth of the Koran.
His case was forwarded to the supreme court (Judge Fazel) and according to Part 2 of article 265 of the Islamic Republic Criminal Law, this case received by and must be returned the state court of Gilan Section 11, and further investigated to prove that from puberty (15 years) to 19 he was not Muslim by his acquaintances, relatives, local elders, and Muslims he frequented. He must repent his Christian faith if this is the case. No research has been done to prove this, if it can be proved that he was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out.
Signed by Morteza Fazeli and Azizollah Razagh