Afghan Christian faces death sentence

By staff writers
March 19, 2006

Afghan Christian faces death sentence

-19/03/06

An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a judge said this weekend.

The news comes less than three weeks after US President George W Bush made his first visit to the country, and talked about religious liberty in the country.

But it also comes shortly after the appointment of a religious affairs official of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime to the country's new parliament which prompted concern among international human rights advocates.

The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan. It comes four years after the invasion which got rid of the fundamentalist Taliban regime.

In a surprise visit to Afghanistan on March 1st George Bush implied in a speech that the US invasion had brought religious freedom to the country.

Related Articles

"Under the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, there is no religious freedom. You have no chance to express yourself in the public square without being punished. There is no capacity to realize your full potential" he said.

But 41-year-old Abdul Rahman was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian.

Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam.

The defendant has confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam."

A ruling on the case is expected within two months.

Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death, said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Afghan Christian faces death sentence

-19/03/06

An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a judge said this weekend.

The news comes less than three weeks after US President George W Bush made his first visit to the country, and talked about religious liberty in the country.

But it also comes shortly after the appointment of a religious affairs official of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime to the country's new parliament which prompted concern among international human rights advocates.

The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan. It comes four years after the invasion which got rid of the fundamentalist Taliban regime.

In a surprise visit to Afghanistan on March 1st George Bush implied in a speech that the US invasion had brought religious freedom to the country.

Related Articles

"Under the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, there is no religious freedom. You have no chance to express yourself in the public square without being punished. There is no capacity to realize your full potential" he said.

But 41-year-old Abdul Rahman was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian.

Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam.

The defendant has confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam."

A ruling on the case is expected within two months.

Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death, said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.