View Full Version : Afghan convert says ready to die for Christ

26-03-2006, 07:54 AM
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Afghan convert says ready to die for Christianity

ROME (Reuters) - An Afghan man who faces a possible death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity has told an Italian newspaper he is ready to die for his new faith.


"I don't want to die. But if God decides, I am ready to confront my choices, all the way," Abdur Rahman was quoted as saying in Sunday's La Repubblica.

The Italian newspaper conducted the interview by sending Rahman written questions via a human rights worker who visited him in jail outside Kabul.

Rahman, 40, could be hanged if found guilty of apostasy, which is punishable by death under Sharia (Islamic) law. His trial is due to start in a few days.

Rahman said he would defend himself in court as no lawyer would want to. He also said he did not want to leave Afghanistan, a possible option if he is allowed to go free.

When asked if he would go abroad, he said: "Perhaps, but if I flee again that would mean my country hasn't changed. It would mean that they have won, our enemies. Without human rights, without respect for all religions, the Taliban have won."

His case has sparked outrage in the United States and Europe and threatens to drive a wedge between Afghanistan and the Western backers who secure and finance the country.

U.S. President George W. Bush and several other Western leaders have expressed concern about Rahman's fate. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday she had spoken to Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the issue.


Pope Benedict wrote to Karzai asking that the charges be dropped, an act that would "bestow great honor upon the Afghan people and would raise a chorus of admiration in the international community."

In his weekly Angelus address, Benedict called for more religious freedom in countries where Christians are persecuted.

"My thoughts turn ... to those communities which live in countries where there is no religious freedom, or where, despite it being set out on paper, there are many restrictions," he told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

International pressure on Afghanistan to respect Rahman's religious freedom has been met in Afghanistan by calls for him to be executed, and a threat of rebellion if the government frees him.

Rahman said he converted to Christianity after leaving Afghanistan 16 years ago. In Pakistan he worked for a humanitarian organization where Catholics told him of their faith.

"I read the Bible and it opened my heart and mind," he said.

26-03-2006, 07:56 AM
Rahman said he converted to Christianity after leaving Afghanistan 16 years ago. In Pakistan he worked for a humanitarian organization where Catholics told him of their faith.

"I read the Bible and it opened my heart and mind," he said.

When Rahman returned to Afghanistan after working in Germany, the wife and two daughters he had left behind reported him to the authorities, saying he forced them to read the Bible and recite Christian prayers, something he denies.

"It's not true. When I returned, I explained the choice I had made," he said. "It wasn't a provocation. They saw I wasn't praying with them and that I was reading the Bible. They asked me and I told the truth. I had become a Christian.

"I have done nothing to repent, I respect Afghan law as I respect Islam. But I chose to become a Christian, for myself, for my soul. It is not an offence."

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26-03-2006, 08:48 AM
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Afghan Convert Sent to Notorious Prison

POLICHARKI, Afghanistan - An Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity has been moved to a notorious maximum-security prison outside Kabul that is also home to hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaida militants, officials said Sunday.


Abdul Rahman, who faces a possible death sentence for alleged apostasy, was moved to Policharki Prison after detainees threatened his life at an overcrowded police holding facility in central Kabul, a court official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Gen. Shahmir Amirpur, who is in charge of Policharki, confirmed the move and said Rahman had also been begging his guards to provide him with a Bible.

hapbirth:) hapbirth:) hapbirth:)

26-03-2006, 02:58 PM
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Afghan Court Drops Case Against Christian

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said.


The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.

An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released.

"The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

"The decision about his release will be taken possibly tomorrow," the official added. "They don't have to keep him in jail while the attorney general is looking into the case."

Abdul Wakil Omeri, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, confirmed that the case had been dismissed because of "problems with the prosecutors' evidence."

He said several of Rahman's family members have testified that the 41-year-old has mental problems. "It is the job of the attorney general's office to decide if he is mentally fit to stand trial," he told AP.

A Western diplomat, also declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case, said questions were being raised as to whether Rahman would stay in Afghanistan or go into exile in a foreign country.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she could not confirm that an Afghan court had dismissed the case and stressed the U.S. needs to respect the sovereignty of Afghanistan, which she called a "young democracy."

"We have our history of conflicts that had to be worked out after a new constitution. And so the Afghans are working on it. But America has stood solidly for religious freedom as a bedrock, the bedrock, of democracy, and we'll see." Rice said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Asked if American Christian missionaries should be encouraged to go to Afghanistan, Rice said: "I think that Afghans are pleased to get the help that they can get" but added "we need to be respectful of Afghan sovereignty."

Rahman has been prosecuted under Afghanistan's Islamic laws for converting 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He was arrested last month and charged with apostasy.

Muslim clerics had threatened to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if the government freed him. They said he clearly violated Islamic Shariah law by rejecting Islam.

The case against Rahman put Karzai in an awkward position.

While the U.S., Britain and other countries that prop-up his government have demanded the trial be dropped, Karzai has had to be careful not to offend Islamic sensibilities at home and alienate religious conservatives who wield considerable power.

Rahman had been held at a detention facility in central Kabul since his arrest, but he was moved to the notorious Policharki Prison just outside Kabul on Friday after threats were made against him by other inmates, prison warden Gen. Shahmir Amirpur told AP.

Policharki, a high-security prison housing some 2,000 inmates, including about 350 Taliban and al-Qaida militants who were blamed for inciting a riot there late last month that killed six people.

"We are watching him constantly. This is a very sensitive case so he needs high security," he said in an interview in his office in a crumbling building inside the jail.

Rahman is being held in a cell by himself next to the office of a senior prison guard, the warden said. He showed the AP the outside of Rahman's cell door, but refused to allow reporters to speak to him or see him.

He said Rahman had been asking guards for a Bible but that they did not have any to give him.

Rahman, meanwhile, said he was fully aware of his choice and was ready to die for it, according to an interview published Sunday in an Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

"I am serene. I have full awareness of what I have chosen. If I must die, I will die," Abdul Rahman told the Rome daily, responding to questions sent to him via a human rights worker who visited him in prison.

"Somebody, a long time ago, did it for all of us," he added in a clear reference to Jesus.

Rahman also told the Italian newspaper that his family — including his ex-wife and teenage daughters — reported him to the authorities three weeks ago.

He said he made his choice to become a Christian "in small steps," after he left Afghanistan 16 years ago. He moved to Pakistan, then Germany. He tried to get a visa in Belgium.

"In Peshawar I worked for a humanitarian organization. They were Catholics," Rahman said. "I started talking to them about religion, I read the Bible, it opened my heart and my mind."

26-03-2006, 03:26 PM

AfghanTimes.com March 26 from AfghanTimes.com reporter in Kabul. (Caleb of Kabul)
""We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there is nothing left."

I am writing from Kabul City. The city of changes and of adventures. Rahman is a great, great inspiration for me and for many more in this land.

I was amazed and encouraged to hear his boldness on local TV. It gives me courage that if something like this happens to me, which might happen, I would be bold like him.

They call him that he is mad! Not surprised! He came to save her two daughters and the situation that he was in (not being able to take his own children) would cause any loving father some sort of depression.

I hope that one day, we Afghans, would come to the point to say, “NO” to more killings and destroying. We had all this since we remember, don't we? We all know that we are a nation at war and almost all our history is packed up with wars isn't it? The time has come for us that we must look back and see "what's wrong with us?" Let's look back and search ways to overcome the fear and anger. We need to find a way or a path to overcome this confusion and desaster.

In doing so, hopefully someday, we would gain the ability to be defeat the evil and to believe in goodness. Yes, to trust each other and respect each others choice of faith and to dialogue peacefully in matters of faith just like good human beings. To let people decide for themselves. Who we are to decide for others? We can't decide for our own lives, can we? We are not the people to decide if Rahman should live or die? If he has done wrong, don't you think God has enough power to do him a "qabz-e-ruh" – take the breath of life from him? But God has created us will free will to choose to worship him NOT to be forced. Enough is enough!

We Afghans thank all the donor countries who are paying to rebuild this country which has been almost doomed. We should express the gratitude. Let's put aside the pride and say help us out with this case. We cannot solve this problem ourselves, can we? We don't have any experience in a case like this, do we? It is a very important case and this case would help us to take a step toward a better and brighter future or back to Talibanized country. Let's not loose this opportunity to bring the dreams of our children to reality.

If we don't take an action now, we will regret it later on. Also this call is to the Afghan Christians in and out of the country. Don't miss with this opportunity God has given to you. Speak up into this matter.

Instead of going to kill Rahman, let's look to Islam and research, where is the problem.

Yesterday (Friday) holiday here in several popular mosques the preachers of peace said the following sentences. Just concentrate on what they said and your consciounce will tell you that they are indeed filled with the evil spirits.

Listen to what Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Msoque said:

"He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian,"

He continued; "The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed."

See what you see in his words: Crazy, scared, kill ... aren't these words evil?

Raoulf, who is a member of the country's main Islamic organization, the Afghan Ulama Council, agreed:

"The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled."

He continued; "Cut off his head!" he exclaimed, sitting in a courtyard outside Herati Mosque.

"We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so that there is nothing left in his flesh."

Did you hear what was said? Hatred, yes all hatred. They call him (Rahman) fool, cut off his head!, call people to pull him into pieces!

Now I personally call this very evil words which is full have hatred and no peace in them at all. You can't find a loving word in these people.

The Bible says: "If you don't love, you actually don't know God because God is love!"

Afghans, we need to sit and think about what they say.

Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said: "Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country. If he is allowed to live in the West, then others will claim to be Christian so they can too," He continued saying; "We must set an example. ... He must be hanged."

Is it that what you call religion of peace? He wants to set an example by hanging someone! I think Love would be the good example, note hatred! Don't you think? What a peace! What a peace! Oh world, come and figure this out. Where is Peter Jennings now to backup his claims of the religion of peace?

The donor governments should know that it's a wonderful opportunity for them to step into this matter. Of course the Mullahs will say, “NO, don't interfere.” but hey then what is the difference between now and three years ago (Taliban Regime)?

Don't ignore this opportunity. Stand up and talk on behalf of the believers in Christ in this land. Don't you claim to be the body of Christ in this world? The other issue is that this brother, I don't think, did this to escape the country. This is because of his love for the Lord and for this country.

Those who offer to take Christians out of the country to what they call it, “a safer place” my advice would be, please don't promise this. We want to have an Afghan fellowship in Afghanistan. This promise would ruin the idea about Christianity among Afghans. What about the rest of Christians in this land? The blood of martyrs is the seeds of the church!

The church MUST NOT be satisfied by taking him out of the country to a safer place. Where is the safer place? I love this brother and I am sure GOD is working through him to bring Glory to His name in this land. In His service, Caleb

Copyright © 2006
All Rights Reserved

28-03-2006, 06:14 PM
maybe you are to happy to use such news for christian agenda propaganda
1-i think you dont need to tell you that isalm is the most fatest grown up relgion in the world you check the news reports alot about it you will find alot over the internet
but not a certine webs which you know that they wont tell you the truth ,
2- its not cause someone said he is ready to die for his faith that make him a beleiver , cause we all know that even the hidus are ready to die ro thier cows
3- under islamic sharia law as u all know the pennal is death for wny one change his , her islamic faith , but as the quran said , everyone is free to belive whatever he want , so in such case the only solution in such case is to leave the islamic comunity cause you wont want to leave in such comunity any more , this very normal , but when u insist to sty living in islamic comuity and kepp on puplishing u r not abeleiver in such faith then in this case you desirve the pennaltiy, in such case i think it would be fair ,
4- you can check how many one converted to islam and how many converted to christianty ( check at NEUTRAL websites )
5- not only about the numbers of converted but also would be better to see whech kind converted to each relegion
thsi for now , still more ,

29-03-2006, 06:25 AM
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Afghan MPs condemn release of Christian convert

KABUL (Reuters) - Members of the Afghan parliament condemned the release of a man who denied Islam, insisting on Wednesday he should not be allowed to leave the country, as Italy appeared ready to offer him asylum.


Abdur Rahman, 40, was jailed this month for converting to Christianity, and could have faced trial under Islamic sharia law stipulating death as punishment for apostasy.

He was freed from prison on Tuesday after pressure from Western states whose troops helped bring the Afghan government to power.

"The release of Abdur Rahman was contrary to the existing laws of Afghanistan," Yunus Qanuni, president of the lower house of parliament, told the assembly during an unscheduled debate on the case.

"Abdur Rahman should not flee and should not be allowed to leave Afghanistan ... he should be kept under supervision," he said.

Rahman's jailing raised a storm of protest in the West, with the United States leading calls for his religious freedom to be respected and for him to be released.

His whereabouts were being kept secret to ensure his safety, officials said, but there was no indication on Wednesday he had left the country.

Afghanistan's Western-backed government has been seeking a way out of the crisis but has had to be mindful of conservatives demanding Rahman be punished under Islamic law, and warning of trouble if he were not.

Several members of parliament said Rahman should not be allowed to leave but should be executed. One member, who is also a cleric, said Rahman's release would provide ammunition to the government's enemies.

"This will pave the way for the opponents of the government to say war against the government is legitimate," said Abdul Aziz.


Qanuni said members of the Supreme Court and prosecutors should be summoned to parliament to explain Rahman's release.

The United Nations said Rahman had requested asylum abroad and it hoped one of the countries involved in the controversy would accept him.

Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said on Tuesday he would ask a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to offer Rahman "hospitality" in Italy.

Rahman became a Christian while working for an aid group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan 15 years ago. He later lived in Germany before returning to Afghanistan.

He was detained after his relatives told authorities he had converted to Christianity following a dispute involving two daughters. Relatives later said Rahman had suffered from mental problems, although he denied that.

Judicial officials had raised questions about his mental state and said he had to undergo psychiatric tests.

President Hamid Karzai has made no public comment on the case.

Religion is a very sensitive issue in deeply conservative Afghanistan.

Violent protests erupted in February over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published in European newspapers. Last year violence broke out over a magazine report that U.S. military interrogators had desecrated the Koran.

About 1,000 people rallied in a northern city on Monday to demand Rahman be executed but there have been no protests over the case since then.

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