By Franklin Graham
In Ward 350 of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, American pastor Saeed Abedini is incarcerated with 30-40 other prisoners, twice the legal limit for this section of the prison.
The authorities arrested Saeed while he was working in Iran, with permission from the government, to help build an orphanage for children. According to the Iranian state, his crime is endangering national security—really just trumped-up charges. What was the real danger? The fact that he is an evangelical Christian and that is a threat to Islam.
Sept. 26, just a few weeks from now, will mark Saeed’s one-year anniversary in Evin Prison. In conditions unimaginable for most of us, he has been relentlessly interrogated, psychologically harassed and physically beaten—even resulting in internal bleeding and injuries. Twice he has faced solitary confinement.
Saeed is Iranian-born but an American citizen. He, his wife, Naghmeh, and their two children live here in the United States. Thanks to Naghmeh’s relentless efforts—and the prayers of a number of believers—Saeed’s plight is gaining the attention of the world. His internal injuries have finally been treated, but the outcome for him is still uncertain.
I don’t know if believers in our own country will ever experience this degree of persecution, but I do know that our religious freedoms are being seriously eroded. The Bible tells us that Christians should expect persecution by the world: “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12, ESV).