‘Silence in the Face of Evil Is Evil Itself’: Wife of American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran Speaks at CPAC

AbediniORLANDO, Fla. — The wife of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran for conducting missionary and humanitarian work in the nation spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, urging her country to do more to free her husband.

“My question is—as I’m proud to see my husband stand up for his faith in the face of evil—how are we standing up as a country for him?,” Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini of Idaho, asked. “What kind of message are we sending to the world when we continue to negotiate while Iran continues to abuse one of our own, an American pastor?”

As previously reported, Abedini, a former Iranian Muslim turned Christian, left Iran in 2005 and moved to the United States with his wife and two children to find religious freedom after facing conflict with authorities for planting house churches in the county. In 2012, he traveled back to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents—and was about to return to the states—when he was taken into custody.

Abedini was later charged with threatening the national security of Iran, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He was then sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, where he has spent the past two years behind bars.

In November 2013, Abedini was transported to Rajai Shahr Prison, which was believed to pose an even greater threat to Abedini’s health and safety. Last May, while obtaining treatment at a local hospital for injuries sustained from beatings, he was likewise beaten and returned to prison.

Abedini’s wife requested a face-to-face meeting with Barack Obama in January as he was scheduled to speak at an area university. She later told reporters that Obama advised her that “getting Saeed out is a top priority and he is working very hard to get Saeed home back to our family.”

But on Saturday, while speaking at CPAC in Orlando, Naghmeh Abedini expressed disappointment over the lack of voices speaking out for religious freedom, including in regard to her husband’s plight in Iran.

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“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself,” she said. “That means when we don’t act and we don’t speak, we are doing the same things that the persecutors are doing to my husband.  … When we don’t speak in the face of evil, we’re doing that evil ourselves.”

Abedini warned that if American Christians remain silent regarding the persecution of Christians in other nations, they will see persecution come to their own soil.

“If we don’t address what’s going on across the world, it will be something we will have to deal with here,” she declared. “And we’re seeing we’re losing our religious freedom here.”

The pastor’s wife and mother of two exhorted those gathered with Scripture’s contingent promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

“This great nation is blessed because of our foundation on Jesus Christ,” Abedini said. “My prayer is that … we would turn our eyes back on Jesus, that we will repent of the ways that we have looked to other things to fulfill us, and that we would turn our eyes back to Jesus and pray and cry out for healing for our nation, and that we get back to our core value of religious freedom.”


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  • Oboehner

    By all means let us send more of our young men and women to be maimed and killed to further stir things up over there for one man who new the risks when he went over.
    We have plenty of evil over here to deal with that our “pastors” wish to ignore. What was that about the log in the eye?

    • Brett Knabel

      If you’re going to refer to Scripture, quote it in context, my friend. Do you support bringing POWs home, even though our soldiers know what they’re getting in to? I do. Them understanding the risk involved has nothing to do with this discussion. The fact is, since he understood the risk and chose to do what he did inspite of the risks makes it all the more necessary that we bring our heros home!

      • Oboehner

        Here’s the context, Christians are supposed to support military action in foreign lands to “fight evil” (speck in other’s eye) while merely saying “God’s in charge” here at home while, instead of fighting evil, are voting for their perceived lesser of it (log in our eye).
        I support not sending them over there in the first place, and this has everything to do with this discussion. What makes them heroes? What freedoms would we have lost if they weren’t over there involved in aggressive wars? With all of this islamophobia we’re LOSING freedoms here at a frightening pace, Abedini even stated “And we’re seeing we’re losing our religious freedom here.” How could that be?

        • lynn

          My bible says “Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel” When our preachers are willing and go, we as Christians ought to do everything we can to support them and bring them home safely.

          • Oboehner

            Did the early church form a military, invade Rome, and save the Apostle Paul? No, and I’m quite sure killing children in drone attacks isn’t scriptural either.

          • lynn

            I think we are talking about two different things. The fighting was not started nor is it from any Christian originating. The drones you are speaking about are controlled by your Muslim president. At least he said he is a Muslim. I was talking about the preacher that is being held captive. True Christians are not for killing folks,and especially children, and that includes the unborn.

          • Oboehner

            Did the early church form a military, invade Rome, and save the Apostle Paul?

    • Marvels of life

      Come on, I cannot believe you made this statement. Stir things up. Iran is one of the worst countries in support of terrorism in the world. We should do everything in our power to bring this pastor home. He is a Christian and citizen of the U.S. He is doing the work of a Christian. How would you like it if you were left in a prison for doing the work of Christ, or worse yet captured by a terrorist organization that was about to cut your head off. Would you not want your government to do everything possible to get you home? (And don’t tell me you wouldn’t have gone there to start with, that is irrelevant to this situation)

      • Oboehner

        Sending more young people to be maimed and killed to save one who knew the risks before he went in sounds logical to you?

        • Marvels of life

          I think it would more than likely take special ops teams to save him. It has been happening for quite some time in other places. I believe the answer is yes. It’s important for Americans to know that other Americans are doing as much as ‘possible’ for them. We often have ministries as Christians in other parts of the world, and share the word of God with them. One of my doctor friends is in doctors without borders. He isn’t concerned about going to Africa, and Ghana primarily because the people there are supportive of the ministry. But, to him its worth going because they take care of the church that has started there, and he is a pediatrition and takes care of the children. Would I want him and his people to be able to count on the United States if he were in trouble. Most definitely. I hope that clarified at least my position on the matter. Have a great day!

          • Oboehner

            Suit up and head over with all of the others who wish to risk life and limb for another’s choice.

          • Marvels of life

            A risk that I would take if I was not as old as I am with health problems. I don’t see the reasoning behind a personal attack on me. You have your opinion, I have mine. I tried to give you examples of reasons why it makes a difference. You should know that there are 100’s maybe in the thousands now, fighting against ISIS voluntarily with the Kurds. That is because of their belief and faith in Christ. It is not necessary in comments for making personal comments. Stick with the issues and there should be no problem in discussing those issues.

          • Oboehner

            Excuses, excuses, suit up head over or don’t expect anyone else to do it.

          • Marvels of life

            You claim to be a Christian am I right? What an encouraging statement. There is no need for you to converse with me again. You have an offensive nature which I don’t appreciate.

          • Oboehner

            Sure, war is definitely a Christian attribute. Don’t forget a good pair of shoes when you head over.

  • Laura Wojtowicz

    I pray for your husband and you. My heart goes out for you and your husband. I will keep you in my prayers.

  • I. Lucille May Boll

    America – please pray to let Pastor abidini go free, now.

  • Liz Litts

    She is totally right-there are many references in God’s word about what happens when we see evil and do nothing about it. Especially if it is being done to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    I’m not sure if today’s American leadership, especially with the current administration, is really interested in rescuing defenseless people or spreading the truth, human rights, liberty and justice in the world. The priority and interests seem to be somewhere else. The world needs Christian American leaders for getting what is right and good done.

  • Ioanna Groves

    I do believe that he was invited to go back and finish the orphanage.

  • Mary Waterton

    Whether it’s Adolf Hitler, abortion, sodomite marriage, or ISIS … silence in the face of evil is evil itself. You may not be able to stop them, but you are compelled by the Lord to speak out and to oppose them.

    • lynn

      Amen. I truly believe that the silence of the lambs has greatly contributed to the downward spiral of the greatness of the USA today.