Imprisoned supporters in Iran of the Muslim terror army Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, are threatening the life of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been detained since September 2012 because of his Christian faith.
Abedini has told his family members he fears for his life after he was told the ISIS prisoners plan to murder him because of his Christian faith, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
ISIS, which has grown to an estimated 10,000 fighters, has been sweeping across Iraq, imposing Islamic religious law, killing Christians and other religious minorities, and eradicating evidence of any faith other than Islam.
The group, in credible reports, has been blamed for crucifixion, torture, execution, burial of living victims and the beheading of children.
ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow told WND the ISIS threats add a more dangerous dimension to Abedini’s plight.
“The ISIS threats against Pastor Saeed are extremely dangerous. ISIS is a brutally violent offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq, proving themselves far more violent than even al- Qaida itself. ISIS is terrorizing and massacring Christians throughout Iraq and Syria,” he said.
“Killing Pastor Saeed within Iran, which has publicly opposed ISIS, would provide a monumental victory for these murderous terrorists. Pastor Saeed’s life is grave danger. He is now essentially a prisoner within his own prison cell,” Sekulow said.
International Christian Concern Middle East specialist Todd Daniels confirmed the ISIS threat has intensified the severity of Abedini’s condition.
“It is an extremely troubling development. We have been aware of the threats that Pastor Saeed was facing while in prison and the lack of security that is provided to prisoners. Learning that ISIS connected extremists are now in the same ward as Saeed multiplies the danger for him and other Christians as well,” Daniels said.
Sekulow said President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should take immediate action.
White House National Security spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan deferred to the State Department regarding the ISIS threats and referred to previous White House statements regarding the Obama administration’s position on the pastor’s release.
A State Department official who asked not to be named said the agency is still calling for the pastor’s release.
“We remain concerned about the welfare of U.S.-Iranian citizen Saeed Abedini, who was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges related to his religious beliefs. We reiterate our call for Iranian authorities to release him. We continue to pursue all available channels to secure his release,” the State Department official said.
Daniels said ICC is also working for the pastor’s release.
“We are continuing to raise Saeed’s case in the international community, urging the Iranian government to release Saeed who along with dozens of other Christians are being held for simply practicing their faith,” he said.
“The U.S. government should swiftly and forcefully take action on Saeed’s behalf to see him removed from this prison cell and ultimately brought home to the United States,” Daniels said.
Sekulow said Iranians have a human-rights responsibility to free the American pastor.
“Iran, too, must ensure the safety of Pastor Saeed who it has wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison for his Christian faith – subjecting him now to intense death threats from terrorists. Now is the time to release this man, who has done nothing wrong, and allow him to return to the loving arms of his wife and children here in America,” Sekulow said.
“September 26th will mark two years since the 34-year-old Pastor Saeed was imprisoned. On that day, thousands across the globe will participate in worldwide prayer vigils in hundreds of cities,” Sekulow said.
Sekulow said ACLJ has a website where people can sign a petition supporting action to secure the pastor’s release.
As Abedini’s daughter Rebekka asked in a recent video she and her brother made urging President Obama to bring their father home, “Why does our daddy need to be in prison for loving Jesus?”