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48 Hours for Religious Freedom: Christians Urged to Stand with Those Persecuted for Their Faith
Sept. 22-23: Two Days of Solidarity in Support of Freedom of Religion and Conscience
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2012—Daily, Iranian Christians face persecution even death for their faith. It is illegal in Iran for Christians to worship or own a Bible in their native tongue. For almost three years, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been imprisoned in Iran. His crime: refusing to renounce his Christian faith. And while its daily Twitter campaign advocating for the pastor’s freedom currently reaches more than 2.9 million, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is expanding its advocacy for those Christians facing or suffering from religious persecution in Iran through the two-day event 48 Hours For Religious Freedom.
The ACLJ is calling on "all persons of goodwill interested in defending the freedoms of religion and conscience" to join together during the weekend of Sept. 22-23, 2012, on behalf of Nadarkhani and other Iranian Christians suffering from religious persecution. Churches, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to mark the weekend according to their own faith tradition. This could include:
Holding a candlelight vigil
Engaging in a period of prayer
Reading a letter from a diocesan official at Mass
Writing letters of encouragement to Nadarkhani
Organizing a peaceful protest
Creating a program to educate people about the dangers and prevalence of religious discrimination
Writing respectful letters on Nadarkhani's behalf to Iranian embassies and to the Supreme Leader of Iran.
Nadarkhani's plight is far too common around the world today. It is estimated that more than 159,900 Christians are martyred each year for their faith. The purpose of 48 Hours For Religious Freedom is to raise international awareness of religious discrimination and persecution.
"We must stand against discrimination and persecution wherever they occur," said Tiffany N. Barrans, international legal director with the ACLJ and coordinator of 48 Hours For Religious Freedom. "It is our hope that this will be just the first step in standing for freedom of religion and conscience and against religious discrimination and persecution around the globe."
To assist those who want to participate, 48HoursforFreedom.org will house multilingual resources including an informational video, a prayer sheet, a sample church bulletin, suggested activities and other resources. Churches, organizations, and individuals can request additional information by emailing 4RelFreedom@gmail.com.