Tehran's interim Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, called interferences of the Zionists in the Christian world, America in particular, as very regrettable.The Telegraph reported a few months ago:
He congratulated the birth anniversary of the Jesus Christ to all Christians around the globe.
Addressing worshippers converged in Tehran University campus on Friday, Ayatollah Kashani said Jesus Christ was the herald of peace.
He advised the Christians not to let the Zionists interfere in their destiny.
"While the Zionists have caused humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and Palestine, how could the Christian world answer the crimes?" he said.
"While the message of Jesus Christ is restoration of peace and tranquility, why you keep silence?" he asked the Christians.
Ayatollah Emami Kashani said the Jesus Christ is a great Messenger of Allah and his greatness was described more in the holy Qoran rather than Bible.
A month ago, the Iranian parliament voted in favour of a draft bill, entitled "Islamic Penal Code", which would codify the death penalty for any male Iranian who leaves his Islamic faith. Women would get life imprisonment. The majority in favour of the new law was overwhelming: 196 votes for, with just seven against . . .MPAC-UK, of course, is calling on Muslims to thank Channel 4 for Ahmadinejad's Xmas message. (Hat Tip to "SilverLJ" from the comment thread to the MPAC post for pointing out the relevance of the Soodmand case.)
For one woman living in London, however, the Iranian parliamentary vote cannot be brushed aside. Rashin Soodmand is a 29-year-old Iranian Christian. Her father, Hossein Soodmand, was the last man to be executed in Iran for apostasy, the "crime" of abandoning one's religion. He had converted from Islam to Christianity in 1960, when he was 13 years old. Thirty years later, he was hanged by the Iranian authorities for that decision.
Today, Rashin's brother, Ramtin, is also held in a prison cell in Mashad, Iran's holiest city. He was arrested on August 21. He has not been charged but he is a Christian. And Rashin fears that, just as her father was the last man to be executed for apostasy in Iran, her brother may become one of the first to be killed under Iran's new law. [He is now out on bail awaiting trial.]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad