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TO WHOM IT CONCERNS, PLEASE READ:
Recently Hani, my friend and brother in Christ, was detained by immigration for deportation. He came here from Iran seeking a student visa to study in the United States. As he was studying here, the whole Iran political scenario started, and the government quickly denied him the student visa, and then his appeal (which is understandable given our geo-political climate). A week after they overturned his appeal, they arrested and sent him to a detainment center here in Miami.
What’s odd about Hani’s case is not only the environment in which he’s been rejected, but that he is honestly a political refugee. Upon coming to the United States, Hani converted out of Islam and into Christianity. In Islamic Sharia law, this person is called an Apostate, and is punishable by death (derived from Surah 2:217). Four major Sunni and the one major Shia Madh’hab (schools of Islamic jurisprudence) believe that apostates should be killed as capital punishment. An apostate in Hani’s home country of Iran is severely looked down upon both culturally, religiously and politically, and as such his deportation could lead to serious harm, if not death.
“Life for so-called apostates in Iran has never been easy, but it could become literally impossible if Iran passes a new draft penal code. For the first time in its history, Iran is considering the death penalty for apostates. In the past, authorities have executed apostates.” (thecuttingedgenews.com, May 2008).
As such, it is requested that Hani be granted political asylum on the basis of the God given right of religious freedom, and be harbored in the United States on the grounds of being a political/religious refugee. While the governmental process makes its way, and Hani’s security it fought for, I beg that all you brothers and sisters in Christ write him a letter of encourage.
As early Christians, the church fathers, and Jesus himself experienced, persecution is a painful and active entity within Christianity. As we see in recent rejections of Pastors in China, murders of Christians by Hindu fundamentalist in India, and numerous other persecutions of believers and atrocities around the world, this is something we must actively deal with. Christianity was simple born into a world of persecution & worldly sin, and being embattled within this world, we will continue to deal with the existence of persecution.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”
— Jesus, Luke 6:22
In this battle, as Hani himself now fights, it is invaluable and mandated by Christian teaching that brothers and sisters in the Lord come to the aid of fellow members. As a body, the church looks out and prays for it’s own. Encouragement is needed, and love is necessary.
Please pray for Hani as he experiences a modern-day persecution. Please pray for Hani, that his suffering may produce a multitude of blessing.
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it
for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save
many people alive.”
— (Gen 50:20)
Please pray for Hani, and please find the time to write him a simple letter of blessings and encouragement. Let him know that even though you do not personally know him, as a brother or sister in Christ you love and pray for him. This letter doesn’t have to be long. It could be a simple paragraph or more.
PLEASE EMAIL THESE LETTERS TO:
Hand them in person to Leonard and Christian at Miami Baptist Church, any given Sunday.
God Bless you, and may we show both Hani and our God that we love, care for, and encourage those members of the true universal body of believers; His Church.
–Leonard O Goenaga