Phoenix Preacher is beginning a multi-part series about the case of Saeed Abedini, the Iranian born Christian preacher who was imprisoned in Iran and became an internationally famous symbol of religious repression in Muslim nations. PP was a champion of Abedini’s cause while he was in prison but has now come to doubt key aspects of the narrative. The post today opens an exploration of those key claims. His introduction sets the tone:
When Saeed Abedini was imprisoned in Iran in the summer of 2012, the church here and abroad set about to free him with one of the biggest campaigns in recent memory.
Abedini was presented to us as an innocent missionary, a man of God imprisoned for his faith in Jesus Christ.
He was held in horrible conditions we were told, tortured and beaten, often at the edge of death.
The church mobilized as rarely before as organizations like the American Center For Law and Justice, men like Franklin Graham, and hundreds of churches and individuals took up the cause.
Millions of dollars were raised, millions of words written and messages sent to free Abedini before it was too late.
The more we learn, the more we call into question the truth of the narrative we were fed.
Despite the stories of regular beatings and illness while in prison, PP presents photos of Abedini in an Iranian prison looking quite healthy. PP raises the possibility that Abedini’s condition was embellished in order to generate more donations and keep the story alive.
Many people were shocked to hear his wife’s allegations of domestic abuse. Clearly, those stories were not front and center during his captivity. At least some of what was presented to the public wasn’t accurate, that much we already know. The question is what else, if anything, was also untrue?
The American Center for Law and Justice raised funds on the situation and should be accountable for what they knew.
At this point, PP has offered the photos which do raise questions. I plan to follow the series to see what else he brings to the table.