Friday, July 20, 2012

“Tweet for Youcef” Campaign Surpasses 2.7 Million Globally

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
MANASSAS, VA (ANS) -- A Twitter-based campaign launched by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) to free an imprisoned Iranian pastor is now reaching over 2.7 million people in over 230 countries.
The ACLJ 'Tweet for Youcef' campaign logo.
The ACLJ’s “Tweet for Youcef” campaign , which launched in January, is pressing for the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who marked 1,000 days in prison on July 8, according to an online report by the National Religious Broadcasters association (NRB).

The ACLJ argues that Nadarkhani has been illegally imprisoned and says increased international pressure for the pastor’s immediate and unconditional release is more important now than ever.

“He is still alive today because of international pressure on Iran – people worldwide raising their voices, demanding that his life be spared,” the group told campaign supporters. “We need to keep that pressure on.”

Last year, Dr. Frank Wright, President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), sent letters to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook, respectfully requesting that they use their positions in the Obama Administration to intervene on Nadarkhani’s behalf.

“NRB is an ardent advocate of religious liberty for all people domestically and abroad,” Dr. Wright said at the time. “Many of our members have followed with great concern the situation of Pastor Nadarkhani, who was arrested almost two years ago. We find it unconscionable that the Iranian government would sentence him to death because he refuses to recant his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

According to reports, Nadarkhani was arrested on Oct. 13, 2009, after protesting the government's decision to force all children, including his two sons, to read the Qu'ran. The pastor was initially arrested for protesting but was later charged with apostasy and evangelism to Muslims.

Since then, Nadarkhani has been repeatedly asked to renounce his Christian faith, but the pastor continues to hold true to his belief in Jesus Christ.

Sources in Iran say his next scheduled court date is Sept. 8.

** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

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