For two impossibly long years, Naghmeh Abedini has been asking President Obama for help. Her husband, Saeed, has been suffering in an Iranian prison for that amount of time, just for being a Christian pastor. Her pleas have gone largely unanswered - until now. The American Center for Law & Justice announced the welcome, yet overdue news, that the president would visit Boise, Idaho and meet with her and her family.
In 2012, police pulled Pastor Saeed from a bus and threw him in prison. His time in Iran's penitientiaries have been anything but normal. In addition to being placed in solitary confinement, Saeed has been mercilessly beaten and tortured.
This unacceptable violation of religious freedom deserved a response from the White House. Indeed, in his phone conversation with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in 2013, President Obama did ask him to release Abedini. But, with little followup, that has proved to be all it was - a conversation.
Now, however, it appears Obama will meet with Pastor Saeed's family. He is planning to speak at Boise State University to speak on his State of the Union address goals, and afterward he will seek out the Abedinis. Though it took the president so long to meet with her, Mrs. Abedini is not bitter. Here's what she had to say about his upcoming trip:
"I was overjoyed when I heard that President Obama wanted to meet with the kids and I during his short visit here in Boise," Naghmeh Abedini said in a statement released by the ACLJ. "I have tried over the last two years to meet with the president or even get a phone call from him without success. It is truly an answer to prayer that he is coming to Boise and it is a miracle that he is meeting with us. I see God’s hand in arranging this crucial meeting."
I had the honor of speaking with Mrs. Abedini at last year's Values Voter Summit in Wasihington, DC. Her strength and her faith amazed me. She is not much different from her husband in that regard. Saeed, she shared, has not given up his faith, even taking opportunities to evangelize with other inmates in prison. At one of the most moving moments of the summit, Mrs. Abedini showed a YouTube video she and her children made, entitled, "Dear President Obama: Please Help Bring Our Daddy Home." Take a look at the clip and you'll understand why there were not many dry eyes left in the room:
It's about time our president answered their long awaited plea.