Naghmeh’s story Part 2
Naghmeh Pahani’s second interview with Julie Roys has been published. I highly commend it. Naghmeh’s Story: Abuse and Betrayal Behind #SaveSaeed, Part II
If you have suffered domestic abuse, I think you will find things you relate to in Naghmeh’s story. If you want to help victims of domestic abuse, I think you will learn a lot from Naghmeh’s story.
Franklin Graham demanded that Naghmeh reconcile with her unrepentant abuser. Franklin accused Naghmeh of embarrassing and shaming her husband by exposing him publicly. He also instructed her to lie to protect her husband’s reputation.
Franklin didn’t care that Saeed had threatened to take the kids to Iran — where Naghmeh would stand no chance of getting them back. If Franklin’s plans had come to fruition, it is almost certain that Saeed would have been able to carry out that threat.
The bottom line was that Franklin didn’t believe Naghmeh was a victim of abuse because Saeed had not beaten her to a pulp every night.
How often have we heard that refrain? Christians who enable abusers have a faulty concept of domestic abuse. Usually their concept is confined to physical violence — which conveniently dismisses coercive control, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, etc. Their concept of ‘physical violence’ is elastic in favour of the abuser, so they can say that whatever physical assaults the victim may have suffered, those assaults are not real abuse because they were not serious or frequent enough to qualify. All victims can be dismissed this way.
Franklin Graham’s sister, Anne Graham Lotz, told Naghmeh, “Franklin does not understand. And I also can tell you, Franklin is not a good listener.” Franklin didn’t want to understand. And he certainly didn’t want to listen to Naghmeh.
Franklin Graham runs a ministry in Alaska for army veterans who have PTSD. Many of those soldiers are abusing their wives. We can only guess at how many domestic abuse victims Franklin Graham has mistreated!
Naghmeh also tells how Jay Sekulow from the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice) told her to lie. The ACLJ had helped her advocate for her husband’s release from jail, but when it became public that her husband was an abuser, they wanted to hose it down. Naghmeh says:
“The message I got from ACLJ was, ‘Now media is on this. We need to have a statement . . . What are we going to say to the media? We can say you’re on medication and you are mentally ill.’”
Again, this is a typical refrain from abusers and their enablers: “The woman is crazy — mentally ill.”
Naghmeh refused to lie. She told Sekulow that she was seeing more clearly than she had in years. I would love to have seen Sekulow’s face when he realised he could not bully this woman!
In the interview Naghmeh gives glory to God for providentially protecting her from unsafe meetings with Saeed. I found that aspect of Naghmeh’s story inspiring and encouraging. All the scary things that happened to Naghmeh, God has used for good to strengthen and build up Naghmeh. She is now helping abused women in the Middle East. She deplores the celebrity culture in the American church. I’m sure that her interview with Julie Roys will have ripples all round the Christian community. Those who have ears to hear will hear. Those who have stiff necks will harden their hearts further.
An excerpt from Julie Roy’s introduction:
In this second of a two-part podcast with Naghmeh, you’ll hear audio from an intense meeting Naghmeh and her pastor had with Franklin Graham and Saeed in 2016. Julie also shares emails between Franklin and Naghmeh, where Franklin calls Pastor Saeed a “hero” and rebukes Naghmeh for revealing her husband’s abuse and embarrassing him.
You’ll also hear about a surprise visit to Naghmeh’s house that Franklin Graham arranged by flying Saeed, his parents, two counselors, and a bodyguard to Boise on a private jet.
And you’ll hear part of a campus-wide gathering at Liberty University where Saeed is praised as a “hero of the faith.” This convocation happened several months after Naghmeh went public about Saeed’s abuse.
Go here to listen the interview / watch it on video / or read the transcript.
About Naghmeh Panahi — born in Iran in a Muslim family, Naghmeh sought God and became a Christian at age 9. She is now sharing the gospel and helping abused women in the Middle East.
Tahrir Alnisa Foundation — Tahrir Alnisa means “setting women free.” This is the work Naghmeh is now involved in. They say: “We are a team of women who know what it’s like to be abused or to help those who have been abused by someone they love. We help women escape and recover from domestic abuse.”