March 22, 2006

Afghan Christian convert charged with apostasy, possibly faces excecution

Afghanistan: Christian Convert Faces Execution.

PRAGUE, March 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Some 15 years ago, Abdul Rahman made a decision that may now cost him his life.

While working for an international Christian aid organization helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan, he abandoned Islam and became a Christian.

On his return to Afghanistan from Germany in 2002, 41-year-old Abdul Rahman told his relatives about his faith.

And it is they who reportedly denounced him to authorities in February. When police arrived to arrest and charge him with rejecting Islam, they found him carrying a Bible.

German defense minister, Friedbert Pflueger states, "Germany sent peacekeeper to help Afghanistan 'become a democratic country, not so that people can be sentenced to death on religious grounds.'"

I dare say we feel the same way.

[...] International Christian Concern (ICC), a U.S.-based organization that assists Christians who are victims of persecution and discrimination because of their faith, has called for Abdul Rahman's immediate acquittal.

In a statement, the ICC says "Afghanistan had already had enough of religious extremism under the Taliban."

The organization is calling on President Hamid Karzai to defend freedom of religion by pardoning Abdul Rahman.

But reports say Karzai's office has indicated he will not intervene in the case.

Judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada has said that if Abdul Rahman does not reconvert to Islam, the court would have no alternative but to sentence him to death.

So far, Rahman shows no sign of relenting [God bless him! --ed.]. Mawlavizada says Abdul Rahman was asked but refused to return to the religion of his birth.

[...] Afghanistan's constitution states that "no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam." At the same time, it says that the country should abide by the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That states that everyone has the right to change his religion or belief.

What's the point of including two completely contradictory elements in the constitution?

We did not shed our blood, sweat, and tears to oust one theocracy (and liberate millions of people at that!) only to replace it with another masquerading as a democracy!

Please keep Abdul Rahman in your prayers.

Posted by Kyer at March 22, 2006 12:53 PM | TrackBack