Saeed Abedini is an Iranian American Christian pastor who was imprisoned in Iran with the allegation of threatening “national security” by making Christian gatherings.
Saeed is internationally recognized as a former prisoner of Iran’s Islamist Shia regime, and as a courageous spokesman for faith and freedom. He is also a gifted evangelist and an encourager of Christian believers in Iran and beyond.
In January 2013, the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced Pastor Saeed Abedini, a former Muslim, to eight years in prison for having “undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and … attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.”
Years before, at age 14, Abedini was recruited by Hezbollah, the infamous pro-Iranian paramilitary militia. His close observation of the religious authorities’ methods of training, the hatred behind “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” slogans, and the corruption of the mullahs caused him to reject the Hezbollah program and also to question his faith in Islam.
Saeed Abedini converted to Christianity at age 20 – a capital offense under Islamist Sharia law – and immediately recognized a strong calling to share his new-found faith. He did so with great success, despite constant threats and intimidation. He founded dozens of house churches. But his efforts to construct a state-sponsored orphanage in the city of Rasht led to his arrest and imprisonment.
After a three-and-a-half year incarceration, enduring mental and physical abuse, torture, beatings and continuous death threats, Abedini was released from prison in January 16, 2016. This was the result of the notorious nuclear treaty with Iran, and an exchange of prisoners between the Iranian regime and US President Obama’s administration.
International broadcasts about Saeed’s imprisonment inspired a global groundswell of support, activism and prayer for him. Thanks to his viral media exposure, he has significant name recognition in the US, Canada and in numerous other democratic countries.
Because of his first-hand experience with the Iran regime’s brutality, Hezbollah’s deadly mission, and the growing despair of young Iranians, Saeed Abedini speaks boldly for faith and freedom, the truth about Israel, and the defense of persecuted Christians. A US citizen, Abedini is a well-informed consultant and a tireless activist. He is a popular speaker with both Christian and secular audiences.
Story Of Saeed Abedini’s Journey From Islam To Christianity
In an interview with Rebecca Bynum, managing editor of New English Review, Pastor Abedini shared the incredible story of his journey from Islam to Christianity.
Read Abedini’s Story Below as shared by New English Review
When I was 14 years old I was a very strong Muslim and I joined Hezbollah to attack Israel. An arm of Hezbollah came to my school and they chose boys they thought were talented to recruit, which shows they made a big mistake because I wasn’t talented at all. Then they asked us to join in some classes at the mosque which taught hatred of the Jews and how we had to attack Israel. They told me their plan for me was I should go to Israel and live and work there, completely become Israeli, and then after ten years they would send instructions on what would be the next step. But then I saw something wrong in them. I found out they were lying and weren’t the people they said they were. They put forward how they always obey the Koran, but in reality they didn’t.
I remained a very strong Muslim, always praying in the mosque and fasting. Then when I was twenty years old, I went into an Assembly of God Church, which was established before the revolution and was still open in Tehran at that time. And the pastor told me Jesus is Lord. And I thought, Jesus is not Lord, Jesus is a prophet only. So I made the decision to kill that Pastor and then I would kill myself as I had a bad depression at that time.
So the same night I was planning to kill him, I found that I couldn’t focus on my plan and I had no peace in my mind. So all the way from the church to my house, I started walking and I couldn’t stop my tears. I was crying and crying. I was so confused. I found both of them were strong – Islam and Christianity. One worships a human as a God, one rejects that and they were always at war, fighting each other, killing each other. There’s no peace in it, so it doesn’t work. And so I was so confused and thinking and crying for hours and hours. My whole t-shirt got wet, just soaked with my tears and when I got home, I was so tired and I for the first time I remember I prayed an honest prayer to God. “God just show me which way is true.” I had the Koran in one hand and the bible in the other hand and I kneeled down and cried out to God, “Just show me.” I knew half the population in the world is Christian and half Muslim. They both think they are right, so I was confused. I was just twenty years old and I had never asked this question of anyone.
So then I fell asleep and at around midnight, I heard a voice call my name and woke me up, “Saeed, Saeed, I’m coming back soon, coming back soon. Go to preach my gospel, my gospel.” I woke up, looked around, no one was there. So I thought: that was a dream. So, then I went back to sleep and two hours after that again the voice woke me up and called my name, “Saeed, Saeed, I’m coming back soon.” And I thought, okay I have depression, now the depression has turned into schizophrenia.
I’m hearing and seeing something weird so I need to go to a psychiatrist tomorrow. So I made the decision to go to the psych doctor and so I slept and the third time I heard a huge voice which seemed to shake my room and I saw a huge light in the room. And again the voice called my name saying, “Saeed, I am coming back soon. Go to preach my gospel.” And I could see the light and for the first time in my life, I felt the strong presence of the Lord in my soul. I couldn’t deny it and I couldn’t handle it, actually. So I said, “Amen,” because I wanted him to just leave me alone because I couldn’t handle it, but when I said amen I looked inside the light and I could see Jesus. And when I saw Jesus I fell down like a dead person on my bed and I felt that he went to the mountain which was outside my window and at the bottom of the mountain was Evin Prison where I was taken later. So I fell down like a dead person on my bed and fell asleep and the day after that, I was another person. I saw that I didn’t hate Christians, I didn’t hate Jews or Israel. I went back to that church and I loved that pastor. That pastor baptized me later. And then I became a pastor myself and I started underground churches in 30 cities which became one of the largest underground churches in Iran.
Visit Pastor Saeed’s Ministry Official WebPage here
Read more of Pastor Saeed Abedini’s story here.