Metaxas, who will be in Buffalo, N.Y. this evening to discuss his bestselling Christian biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, said in an e-mail today that Abedini is "serving prison time for threatening Iran's national security."
In today's e-mail, Metaxas poses the question, "How did he threaten Iran's national security? Well, according to the Iranian government, by creating a network of Christian house churches and therefore, attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam."
Abedini began his collision course with the Iranian government when he converted to Christianity thirteen years ago. In Iran, such a conversion is tantamount to "waging war on Islam," according to Metaxas' statement today.
Following his conversion to Christianity, Abedini became active in the house church movement. He later moved to the United States in 2005. He became a U.S. citizen in 2010, hopefully to avoid persecution.
His hopes to avoid persecution were dashed when he mainained connections with his homeland. One of his most significant connections is with an orphanage he's helping to build in the city of Rasht. He was arrested last September during an attempted visit. Iranian authorities arrested him once he was inside their borders.
While the State Department has issued statements of support, Metaxas said today that more support is needed for the imprisoned American citizen. Metaxas urges people to sign a petition initiated by Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice demanding the pastor's release. Metaxas further encourages people to come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary and be linked to ACLJ.
Newly sworn in Secretary of State John Kerry has also made a statement requesting the release of the American pastor.
Metaxas also said people may write the White House and State Department thanking them for their statement.......and then urge them to make the American pastor's release a top priority.
Metaxas further disclosed today that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kharmenei, has a Facebook page that only people outside Iran can access. As a result, readers may write to the Iranian government via Facebook and request the release of Abedini.
Readers interested in seeing Metaxas tonight on his Bonhoeffer Tour should be at the Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church, 8445 Greiner Road, Williamsville, N.Y. at 6:15 p.m. tonight. He will sign copies of his bestselling biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
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