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November 21st, 2010
08:49 AM ET

Afghan Christian faces trial for alleged conversion from Islam

From Matiullah Mati for CNN:

An Afghan Christian, detained for months for allegedly converting to Christianity from Islam, could face trial as early as next week - and could face a potential death penalty, officials said Sunday.

Said Musa was arrested by Afghan Interior Ministry intelligence authorities near the German Embassy in Kabul because of the allegations, said Qamaruddin Shenwari, director of the Kabul courts' north zone. The exact date of his arrest is not known.

The case against Musa has not yet been finalized, said Mohammad Najim Hamidi, director of public security at Zone 3 of the Kabul courts. He could face trial next week if the case is prepared by then, Hamidi said. It was earlier thought Musa's trial would begin on Sunday.

The Afghan Constitution does not mention converting from one religion to another, so the judge will take Islamic law into account, officials said.

"According to Afghanistan's constitution, if there is no clear verdict as to whether an act is criminal or not in the penal code of the Afghan Constitution, then it would be referred to sharia law where the judge has an open hand in reaching a verdict," Shenwari said.

Under sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death.

It was not immediately clear where Musa was being held and whether he has access to his attorney or relatives.

The U.S. State Department said last week in its annual International Religious Freedom Report that "respect for religious freedom" decreased in Afghanistan in the last year, "particularly toward Christian groups and individuals."

Christians, Hindus and Sikhs - as well as Muslims whose practices don't satisfy the government or society - suffer "intolerance in the form of harassment, occasional violence, discrimination and inflammatory public statements," the report said. It estimated the Afghan Christian community ranges from 500 to 8,000 people.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Afghanistan • Christianity • Islam

soundoff (669 Responses)
  1. kaboom

    Drop the big one on the entire region.

    November 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  2. Notice to Christians/Muslims

    If you all can't play nice with your imaginary super-heroes, someone is going to have to step in and impose a giant time-out - send you to your rooms to think about it for a while.

    November 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  3. Lee Oates

    The quicker that we evolve pass the religious phase of civilizations the better off we will be. Most ot the world, including Christians, are stuck in a 12th century mentality.

    November 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  4. Trudy

    Our world is a total mess. I get so tired of religion. It is a relationship with God. I hate religion. I pray for God to open all of our eyes before it is to late. This world is going to have a mighty awakening when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back for his people. God have mercy on our world. We are not to hate one another but the evil that is in the world. There are two commandments that the whole word of God stands upon. To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighor as yourself. It says, how can you love God whom you haven't seen and yet hate your brother. We are not to pay evil for evil but good for evil. God help us all. We are in the end times. Lord send revival to our world.

    November 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  5. D

    What is wrong with you people? Islam is a religion of peace? Christians have the same commands in the bible? Here is the difference, there is seperation between church and state, the church does not have the right to order people put to death. Sure, there are passages in the old testament that say stuff like this but we do not allow them to rule our lives, we do not allow our government to put people to death for changing religions.

    Anyone who blindly follows something like this is dangerous, the problem is the government over there is ruled by church, that just doesn't work. It never had worked EVER in the history of man. Why would it work now?

    November 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  6. Canada2386

    Would that be another example of the peaceful religion? looks like just that.

    November 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  7. WhtRULknAt

    Why are we spending our money and blood defending this kind of intolerance?? BTW American Christian zealots, and you know who you are, this is what actual discrimination looks like.

    November 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  8. Chunky monkey

    Religion of peace my a$$

    November 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  9. Bill Jones

    You can't have a rational augment with religious people because you can't be rational and be religious. They are mutually exclusive. Christian Scientist is an oxymoron.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Yeah

      Bill Jones,

      We really must keep trying, though. If they are not disabused of their superst!tions and magical thinking, they will make life on Earth a living hell (already are in many places) and will eventually destroy it.

      November 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  10. brewster

    I am not religious but I look at facts. For all you ignorant anti-christian bigots, there have been more persecution and people killed under atheist dictatorships than all religions combined. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot killed over a 100 million people. North Korea is under an Atheist dictatorship, poverty and persecution. No need to argue this because this is a fact and if you argue facts than you are in igorant moron.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  11. Patrick

    This is what the Koran dictates must be done if you turn your back on Islam. The Bible has similar ideas about those who preach against Christianity. It's not one particular religion that is the problem it's religion in general that is evil. A vast majority of people in the world believe in some sort of strange and completely unprovable magic being in the sky. We are willfully ignorant because we are afraid of and baffled by the mystery of the universe. It's an incredibly primitive and destructive reaction to life. It holds us back in our personally development, It promotes division and war. As a person with a high IQ and a deep love of reason you religious people seem like sad little traumatized children to me. I wish you would wake up and embrace a higher way of being before you get billions of people killed.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • Yeah

      Patrick,

      Cheers to you. We can only keep on pointing out to them how unreal and damaging their superst!tions and magical thinking are.

      November 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  12. Chris

    People always have to go back to the Spanish inquisition when talking about something. Guess what Islam is killing people TODAY, beheading people TODAY, suicide bombing TODAY, moving into democratic nations and trying to change laws TODAY, killing and dishonoring their own women TODAY. 80% of the worlds armed conflicts involve Islam. Muhommed led an army and his followers did too killing and conquering and forcing Islam on nations. Jesus never led an army nor any of disciples. 11 of the 12 were killed by authorities for just telling people about Jesus and creating converts. Islam has never been a religion of peace but death all thru it. If you are a Christian and leave the faith no one will kill you. It's not even an option. You leave. Not with Islam. Death. Certain people in America living in a world of rainbows and butterflies better wake up. Islam did conquer with the sword much of Europe till Europe pushed them back. An Arab guy walid shoebat who was Muslim and converted to christianity tells the truth about islam but liberal American don't want hear what he says. They want to live in their little world.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Farticus

    nachos! quack! ducks! midgets with hats! I hump garden gnomes. I also put my wang in custard.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • mohammy

      you had me laughging at farticus

      November 21, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  14. Common Sense

    Better convert back to Islam quick. Once a monkey always a monkey.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  15. jstevens

    Religion is a tool of fear for a bigger objective. The Middle East is rejecting western values because they perceive it to be against their values. A perfect example is the conservatives perceived threat of socialism and the subsequent resistance. Now most people in this country don't resort to violence because we are allowed an outlet and path to change things. Also, people in the U.S. have things to lose, such as their freedom, jobs, money, possessions, status in community and so on. People in the Middle East don't have an option to resist Western Values and alot of them have nothing to lose. Hence they are more likely to resort to extreme measures i.e. violence and terrorism, as a form of resistance. Not everybody wants our "freedom" and we are perplexed by that.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  16. cndhawg

    Does anymore need to be said about this so called religion and it's expansion throughout the world should be alarming. I would be willing to say that those who feel we shouldn't worry about the building of mosques throughout the world because these are the peaceful components of Islam never thought that Islam probably started that way in the Middle East. The extremists always follow later and it will be the same in the US. If we allow this so called religion to grow the extremists will be with us very soon. Then maybe the liberals will be happy when that time gets here.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  17. Doodlebug

    The religion of peace is at it again!

    It's funny how I hear it's only the Islamic "radicals" who perpetuate this sort of barbaric behavior, while the leaders of these islamic states ARE radicals. They're always radicals. You might be able to find a few decent muslims here and there, but they're not the ones calling the shots.

    The US really needs to wake up before it's too late – before too many of them are elected to US political offices.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  18. kutie

    god bless america, land of the free and home of the brave

    November 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  19. TheBossIsOut

    The UN and the USA are totally responsible for allowing this disgraceful act. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the UN established states the following in Article 18:

    "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

    When the UN turns a blind eye to this, it makes them a useless organization. When the US thinks they are fighting the insurgents as their enemy, the real enemy are the leaders of Afghanistan who uphold these human rights violations. The UN and the US are nothing but a disgrace to humanity.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • Doodlebug

      Nobody has any right to interfere with the internal affairs of another nation. It's THEIR nation, and they can run it how they like.

      November 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • TheBossIsOut

      Doodlebug: You mean like Nazis having the right to run Germany and slaughter 6 million Jews? Please step away from the computer and see a doctor at once.

      November 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Doodlebug

      The United States does not have any business ruling or policing the world, nor does any other nation. That nation is an Islamic state, where the vast majority of the citizens are muslim, acting according to Sharia law. What would you have us do, go slaughter them all? Maybe you should blame their form of government and belief system, instead of the US.

      Now, step away from the computer and go volunteer to help, instead of crying all over the comments section of a news website.

      November 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • TheBossIsOut

      Doodlebug: Go F–K yourself will you.

      November 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Doodlebug

      How humane and peaceful of you.

      Such a saint.

      November 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • mohammy

      thebossisout got oooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddddddddddddd!

      November 21, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  20. Sandra

    Better get ready folks. . . it's coming here eventually.

    November 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
    • Doodlebug

      Agreed. Once they have a foothold in congress, it'll be over.

      And I mean, OVER. There will be no going back.

      November 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.