A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Articles on Naghmeh Abedini, who is bravely exposing the abusive behaviour of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini

Naghmeh Abedini is bravely exposing her husband Saeed Abedini’s abusive behaviour. We haven’t yet had time to write our own post on the Abedini case. But here are some articles on it which we recommend.

Chad Estes: Welcome Home Saeed. We are sorry, but there won’t be a parade
(scroll down to part three of this post, where Chad strongly defends and supports Naghmeh)

The Wartburg Watch: To the Naghmeh Abedini Doubters: Saeed Abedini Pled Guilty to Domestic Violence in 2007

Spiritual Sounding Board: Pastor Saeed Abedini Releases a Public Statement Denying Abuse Allegations Against His Wife

Divorce Minister: Naghmeh Abedini And Sorting My Painful History

UPDATE 1  (5 Feb USA time) — I (Barb) am adding two new articles from the Idaho Statesman.

Saeed Abedini beaten in prison, had use of cellphone much of the time The Idaho Stateman, written by John Sowell, Feb 4, 2016 
Here is a quote from this article:

Q: Did he [Saeed] have access to a cellphone in prison?

Naghmeh Abedini wrote last month on her Facebook page that Saeed was able to use his phone after he had been in prison for six months. Naghmeh said she talked with him six to eight hours a day at times. She also said he used his smartphone to watch movies using Naghmeh’s Amazon account and viewed pornography on his phone.

Saeed has not addressed that accusation, other than to say some public allegations about him are not true. But other sources say access to phones inside prisons in Iran is far from unheard of.

In a first-person account for Time magazine, Matthew Trevithick, who was among four other Americans released at the same time as Abedini, said he was able to use his phone during his 41 days at Evin Prison. Saeed spent the first year and a half of his sentence at the same Tehran prison.

In a story published online in December on IranWire, which relies on citizen journalists to report on events in Iran, reporter Fereshteh Nasehi said phones were popular among prisoners at Rajaei Shahr Prison outside Tehran, where Abedini spent his final two years.

“Prisoners who can afford to buy smartphones now spend most of their time online. And the Internet makes access to porn much easier, but, of course, smartphones must remain hidden from prison guards,” Nasehi wrote.

Abedini domestic violence incident in 2007 triggered by laptop argument, The Idaho Statesman, written by John Sowell, Feb 4 2016
Here is a quote from that article:

Last week, the Idaho Statesman reported that Saeed pleaded guilty to domestic battery following a July 2007 incident at the couple’s West Boise home. The Statesman this week obtained a copy of the incident report from the Boise Police Department, following a public records request.

It reveals that Saeed Abedini got into an argument with his wife and shoved her several times during an incident at the couple’s West Boise home on July 1, 2007.

The argument came while Saeed, then 27, was speaking with family members. Naghmeh, then 30, got upset at something he told his family and tried to close the laptop computer he was using to talk with them, Saeed told police.

A description of the argument was redacted in the copy of the report provided to the newspaper.

Naghmeh — who was holding her daughter, Rebekka, then 10 months old — told police that her husband “pushed her several times” and forced her out of the room. Naghmeh said Saeed pushed her in the neck and upper chest, and the officer, Erik Tiner, now a sergeant, reported seeing a “slight amount of redness” in that area, according to his report.

“He told me that he told her to get out of the room and made hand gestures indicating that he pushed her,” Tiner wrote. “I asked him if he pushed her and he denied doing so.”

Naghmeh told Tiner that Saeed threatened to beat her up if she did not leave the room. She also claimed that she had previously been the victim of domestic violence when the couple lived in Iran. She told Saeed she would call police if it happened again, she told Tiner.

Saeed told Tiner that Naghmeh pushed him as she attempted to close the laptop. She denied touching him, according to the report.

When Tiner asked what she wanted done, Naghmeh told him that “she wanted him to go to jail for domestic battery.” She then signed a criminal citation.

Saeed was arrested that day and taken to the Ada County Jail. Following a video arraignment the following day, he was released on his own recognizance.

During court proceedings, Saeed was assisted by an interpreter who spoke Farsi, the Persian language of Iran.

Saeed initially pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge, but changed his plea to guilty on Jan. 25, 2008, according to court records. He was given a suspended 90-day jail sentence and fined $76. He was placed on probation for a year by Ada County Magistrate Michael Oths.

Saeed was also ordered to attend eight hours of sessions on anger management. He completed that requirement before entering his guilty plea, records show.

 

UPDATE 2 (added into this post Feb 5 USA time. Pls be forgiving as to date:  Barb is on the other side of the international date line…)
Naghmeh Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Silencing of Evangelical Abuse Victims by Libby Anne, at Love Joy Feminism,  Feb 3, 2016.
Here is a quote from that article:

I grieve for the position in which Naghmeh now finds herself. Franklin Graham, perhaps the most prominent public evangelical figure of our era, has stated publicly that there are “two sides” to the story, and her husband, Saeed, has publicly accused her of lying. Meanwhile, both of them have positioned the restoration of the couple’s marriage as a victory from God and the destruction of their marriage as a victory for Satan. In other words, if Naghmeh decides to make the separation permanent, she will have allowed Satan to win. Think, for a moment, about the impossible position in which that puts Naghmeh.

There’s something else to note in Saeed’s positioning as well. Evangelical women typically lose any hope they might have for their community’s support in leaving an abusive husband when that husband professes to be actively working to listen to and submit to God. As long as her husband says he is working on his relationship with God and that he wants to fix the marriage, an evangelical woman will typically be seen as the one destroying a marriage if she leaves, even if her husband is actively abusing her. Saeed has positioned himself as the reasonable one, the one listening to God and dedicated to restoring his marriage. This perfectly positions Naghmeh as the unreasonable one, the one willing to flee in the face of God’s efforts at restoration and destroy a marriage.

UPDATE 3: (added here Feb 7 2016 USA time)

For the Continuing Naghmeh Doubters: Yes, Saeed Really Did Plead Guilty — The Wartburg Watch, Jan 31 2016.    This post shows the Case History document from the Idaho Court.

Vetting, Accountability, Licensing, and Promoting for Pastor Saeed Abedini: Exploring What Went Wrong and How — Spiritual Sounding Board, Feb 2, 2016

UPDATE 4 (added here Feb 9th)

Three Nasty Things (some) Women are Saying About Naghmeh — Natalie Klejwa, Visionary Womanhood

UPDATE 5 (added here Feb 14)

The Heroic Abuser? Christian Media Headlines about Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini — Valerie Hobbs and Mark A Garcia, Lydia Centre

UPDATE 6: (added here 16 Feb USA time)

The Abuse from Saeed Apparently Continues Feb 15, 2016 — Chad Estes, The Captain’s Blog

Saeed Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Manipulative Abuse of Couples Counseling  Feb 16, 2016 — Libby Anne, Love Joy Feminism

Naghmeh Abedini and Responding to Marital Abuse — Virginia Knowles, Watch The Shepherd

Pastor Abedini and the Double Standard of Abuse Jan 31 2016 — Ashley Easter

UPDATE 7 (added here Feb 22, 2016)

There is nothing much different about the Abedini Case, except that the parties are already known as public figures — Jeff Crippen, on the ACFJ Facebook page, Feb 17, 2016.

UPDATE 8 (added here April 5, 2016)

Saeed Abedini on Marriage Troubles: ‘My Life Is Harder Now Than When I Was in Prison’

Pastor Saeed Abedini says his life is harder now than when he was being held hostage in an Iranian prison because of the media attention surrounding the troubles in his marriage and “false accusations” against him.

UPDATE 9 (added here May 1, 2016)

Resource Bibliography on the Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini Situation — Spiritual Sounding Board, compiled by Brad/Futurist Guy

UPDATE 10 (added here May 5, 2016)

Challenging Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abidini  (a 3-part series by Brad Futurist Guy, at Spiritual Sounding Board)

Part 1: Introduction, and He Gave No “Answer” to the Allegations.

Part 2: He Raised Unchallenged Accusations About His 2007 Domestic Assault Case

Part 3: Apparent Assumption of Trustworthiness Left Unexamined, and Final Thoughts.

UPDATE 11 (added here May 11 2016)

What We Can Learn from Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini by Dr Christy Sim
Note: we strongly endorse this article by Dr Sim, but we do not necessarily endorse other things she may have written.

21 Comments

  1. Chad writes:

    The Evangelical Church has a very bad record when it comes to getting people the assistance they need in domestic abuse situations. One reason is because we have become obsessed with keeping people in this covenant as if the institution of marriage matters more than the individuals in the relationship.

    If as pastors we conclude that scripture teaches divorce is a great sin, then our natural response is to make sure that no one in our congregation ever splits up. Our counseling and advice becomes suspect because we are predisposed to believe these people are more suited to please God if they are married. Some denominations hold back positions, roles and opportunity from people who get divorced. Unfortunately this creates an environment in our religious circles that when there is trouble in a marriage we do the best we can to manage the physical, emotional, spiritual and relational pain while doing all we can to hold the relationship together – even when it creates more hell than it is worth.

    Wow. This is almost word for word exactly what I read on a recent ACFJ post, the church making marriage an idol! Perfect example. I am still writing letters to my pastors in hopes of having a chance to enter the “inner sanctum” and be heard, but I am almost ready to just put fliers out around my community and hold an information/resources dissemination meeting at my local library. Sad because this should be a church-sponsored event, to help the helpless…

  2. Peggy

    While I can appreciate your history and perspective, we still have no secret info no one else has. Yes, I stand with Naghmeh, nut just as readily pray for Saeed who is lost I’m a private he’ll of satan’s making. BOTH are wounded, both suffer, both need our prayer and support. No one is beyond God’s healing touch. Let’s not forget the children either as they try to deal with the adult complications of why their daddy can’t be at home. Thank you

    • Peggy, we have published your comment only in order to point out the errors in your thinking.

      Of course anyone may pray for Saeed if they wish to do so, but you are wrong to depict Saeed as being “lost in a private hell of satan’s making”. Saeed has CHOSEN to be abusive to Naghmeh. He has CHOSEN to regularly watch porn. While satan is the father of lies and prowls the world like a lion seeking to devour people, Saeed is not a ‘victim’ of satan. Saeed — like any one else– has choice.

      The abuser must take the blame and responsiblity for his choices. It is wrong to let him off the hook by saying that satan caused him to do it.

      Do you see how your language would minimize Saeed’s responsibility? And do you realise the abuser LOVES anything that helps shift the blame off him and onto someone else (satan, his wife, his wife’s friends and supporters, his past trauma, whatever …)

      I am pretty sure you don’t want to be an enabler of abusers. So I suggest you reconsider your phraseology.

    • And regarding the idea that “both Naghmeh and Saeed are wounded,” that is another dangerous way of talking about domestic abuse.

      To point out that both the abuser and the victim are wounded, is somewhat similar to what we call sin levelling. It is wrong because it fails to state the most important thing: that Saeed has been a hypocrite and a liar, by almost entirely hiding his wicked behavior from the public. He has fought against having it exposed. And in the last few months of his imprisonment he issued a demand to Naghmeh that she promote him to the public and tagged it with the ultimatum that if she refused, the marriage would end. And he tried to coerce her to comply with his demands by reminding her of how much their children would be hurt if the marriage broke up.

      It is clear that Saeed used STANDOVER tactics. He bullied his wife. He is undoubtedly a wicked hypocrite. To call him ‘wounded’ in the same breath as you call Naghmeh wounded is to imply he just needs gentleness and compassion.

      A wicked hypocrite needs to hear God’s Law — the fierceness of God’s voice from Mount Sinai. Giving him sympathy and sentimental kindness will only feed his entitled mindset. It will encourage him to keep lying so that he can recruit more people to his cheer squad.

  3. Valerie

    I tend to believe Naghmeh after reading her personal accounts and in addition to a domestic abuse case filed in 2007 which shows prior history. What is unsettling to me is that Saeed could spend 3+ years in prison and being tortured and still not surrender to Christ and repent of his abuse.

  4. This comment was written on our Facebook page, and I’m pasting it here because it is so good.

    All the professing christians that supported Saeed, such as Franklin Graham, now have a vested interest in covering Saeed’s sin/abuse, lest they look like fools for yoking with this man. This is a test to see if they truly have love of the truth or if they really only love their lives in this world.

    And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2: 10-12.

  5. An interesting comment from one of the readers of The Wartburg Watch:

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/01/29/to-the-naghmeh-abedini-doubters-saeed-abedini-pled-guilty-to-domestic-violence-in-2007/comment-page-1/#comment-237514

    The comment discusses Gateway Church, Lawrence Swicegood, Franklin Graham and Saeed Abidini.

  6. I’ve just added two articles from the Idaho Stateman (journalist John Sowell) to this post. See UPDATE at bottom of post.

  7. I’ve added another article to the list: Naghmeh Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Silencing of Evangelical Abuse Victims by Libby Anne, at Love Joy Feminism, Feb 3, 2016.

  8. Sunflower

    I was thinking that if she should keep quiet about the abuse toward her, and just pray and let God take care of her, well then he should have kept quiet about the abuse he was suffering in prison, and just let God take care of him. Why air his dirty laundry in public, you know? Just work it out between him and his captors.

    • Sunflower

      And maybe what he reported isn’t even true. He might just be making it up to get attention.

  9. Lost

    Wow. Did not know this! Never heard of the abuse until now!

  10. UPDATE 3: (added to this post on Feb 7 2016 USA time)

    For the Continuing Naghmeh Doubters: Yes, Saeed Really Did Plead Guilty — The Wartburg Watch, Jan 31 2016. This post shows the Case History document from the Idaho Court.

    Vetting, Accountability, Licensing, and Promoting for Pastor Saeed Abedini: Exploring What Went Wrong and How — Spiritual Sounding Board, Feb 2, 2016

  11. UPDATE 4:
    Three Nasty Things (some) Women are Saying About Naghmeh — Natalie Klejwa, Visionary Womanhood

  12. UPDATE 5:
    The Heroic Abuser? Christian Media Headlines about Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini — Valerie Hobbs and Mark A Garcia, Lydia Centre

  13. UPDATE 6:

    The Abuse from Saeed Apparently Continues Feb 15, 2016 — Chad Estes, The Captain’s Blog

    Saeed Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Manipulative Abuse of Couples Counseling — Libby Anne, Love Joy Feminism

    Naghmeh Abedini and Responding to Marital Abuse — Virginia Knowles, Watch The Shepherd

    Pastor Abedini and the Double Standard of Abuse Jan 31 2016 — Ashley Easter

  14. keeningforthedawn

    Thank you so very much for posting this (as well as all the updates) on this hot topic. I have been extremely busy these past couple of weeks and only saw this post a few days ago. Since then, I have read each article as I’ve had opportunity and found them very helpful.

    • Thanks, keeningforthedawn 🙂 I have been adding updates to this post every few days as worthy new articles come out on the Abedini case, and I’m glad someone is finding it helpful.

      And here is another worthy item which I’m going to add to this post:

      • keeningforthedawn

        YES! Well said, Jeff Crippen. I do pray the Abedini case will further expose the very harsh reality of abuse in the church, and educate Christians to recognize, discern, and courageously stand against it.

  15. UPDATE 8
    Saeed Abedini on Marriage Troubles: ‘My Life Is Harder Now Than When I Was in Prison’

    Pastor Saeed Abedini says his life is harder now than when he was being held hostage in an Iranian prison because of the media attention surrounding the troubles in his marriage and “false accusations” against him.

    Saeed, your PITY ME card is getting very threadbare!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: