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. Muckerymuck

    The terms God, the Creator, Religions, and Worship are the creations of primitive human who felt the need for one as they were unable to explain the marvels of what they saw. We inherited this ideology from people who thought earth was the center of universe! IF there is a God then I assure you, it does not know of our existence!! Otherwise, we are its creators!

    November 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  2. STerry

    Chris the tomb of Christ is empty. muhammads corpse is rotting in his tomb.There is no doubt who the true God is.And the Jews are the only people who live on land given to them by God!

    November 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  3. Ronnie

    This is sad. I am christian who believes in universal respect for every man from any race or religion. I believe that islam claims to be a peaceful religion, but is polluted with believers who either are extremists, or want death and punishment to those who are non-believers. Unfortuneately those people overshadow the muslims that do have respect for the lives of other religions. If we are to make the world a better place, we must start by turing hatred into forgiveness, and respecting our brothers and sisters.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Joey

    Does anybody else realize that THIS is why we have separation of church and state in America? You can make all the comments you like about Islam being evil, that it is inherently corrupt, but just think about this for a second: what would happen if some christian lunatic...let's take Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church as an example....gained control of our government? Think it would be any better in America if he did? Doubt it. But he doesn't gain control, why? Because we know better. America has been exposed to the world at large, we have the blessing of thousands of different viewpoints, we have ready access to education, we have the ability within our government to speak our minds without fear of persecution. Many people in Afghanistan don't have these things, all they know is what lies before them, everything beyond that scope is an unknown,and there is an inherent fear in not knowing. Is it really so surprising, knowing this, that the Taliban holds so much control in the middle east? I don't think so. It's easy to control when the people you're controlling don't know any better. So logically, the best way to combat such an enemy is to give ready access to education to the populace, right? Seems a better idea that wasting billions of dollars and thousands of lives on a pointless war against an enemy we can't defeat with an army anyways.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  5. Ronnie

    This is sad. I'm a christian, but i believe in respect for everyone, no matter the beliefs. I feel that islam has claimed to be peaceful, but the sad truth is that many believe in harsh retribution to those who are non-believers, and unfortuneately those people along with radical extremist have given a bad rep to the muslims that do respect others. If we are to make the world a better place, we must stop our hatred and learn to respect everyone around us.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  6. Max

    Maybe we should just kill them all and let God sort them out.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  7. Suleiman

    Anyone converting from Islam to any other religion SHOULD be executed under the law. If you have a problem with it, leave the country or SHUT UP. I wonder what they do when they find someone guilty of treason in the free USA. LOL, hypocrites.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Gendor Mon

    Here we go. More stories about them scary Muslims.

    Let's be frank, America is not perfect. People are shot and killed for cutting in line. So stupid people do stupid things for stupid reasons all over the world. The problem isn't the religion, it's people.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Evandro

    The US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has done wonders for the Christian minority.... (irony)

    November 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  10. Gay Muslim Warlock

    Doesn't anyone know about the Gay Muslim Warlock movement in the U.S. You think Obama just 'got elected' with the end of the Iraq war looming overhead? We're in charge of this freaking country! We are f'ing hot mofos with our camels and starry robes! We can turn a toad into a hot tea boy with the flick of our pink tounges!

    November 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  11. Gabriel

    No religion of "peace" ever destroys what God has created. Destruction is an offense against the Creator.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  12. Gary

    The Islams are a very peaceful people as long as you support and believe in everything they do. If not, you should die a very violent death that may even involve stoning or be used as a human bomb to destroy a western tourist site to prove their point that they are peaceful.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  13. Gay Muslim Warlock

    I am the first Gay Muslim Warock, born in the year 1669, by the name of Harry Potter. Fear me. I am all that is Islam. Bring me a 10 year old tea boy now. Its just what you do when you can't hang out with women. That, and Gay Muslim Warlock raves.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  14. Steve

    Regarded by the gullible as true
    By the wise as false
    By the rulers as useful

    November 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  15. Chris

    This is not a forum to slam Christianity. Islam does unequivocally state that those who leave Islam deserve death. The New Testament does not prescribe any type of punishment AT ALL for those who leave the faith.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  16. Chris

    This is not a forum to slam Christianity. Islam does unequivocally state that those who leave Islam deserve death. The New Testament does not prescribe any type of punishment AT ALL for those who leave the faith. If you want to slam Islam, go ahead. Leave Jesus (and his true disciples out of the discussion).

    November 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  17. huxley

    My imaginary friend is way better and more correct than your imaginary friend.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  18. Jose M. Pulido

    Criminal gangs kill defectors; therefore, Islam is a criminal gang which also murders all those who learn the fact that the only way to salvation of the soul for eternal life is through Jesus Christ.
    Christianity saves humankind by God's word, Islam murders humankind by Mohammed's sword.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  19. Brian

    what a surprise. another religious issue in the middle east...i never thought a group of ppl such as these could be so a$$ backwards. these ppl are a waste of space

    November 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  20. david

    ok here is the story:

    a man in the usa says an angel of god talks to him. he marries a 6 year old girl. he convinces other men to follow him (any guesses why they would follow) he teaches that he is a prophet and that god has chosen him. who in their right mind would follow this guy, unless their mind was warped and deceived.

    , now move the story to the deserts of arabia, Even though thousands of years have passed and no one has heard of allah until this man teaches about him, the only other mention of allah is a statue idol of the moon god named allah at mecca (mecca used to be the place of worship of 100's of idols and statues) this man says no, there is only one to be worshipped- allah. his teachings say everyone must submit to allah or be terrorized (book of Suri)

    interestingly this man has a book devoted to Mary, just as the catholic church honors Mary and holds her just as high as Jesus (even though Jesus said He is the only way to God in John 14:6 I am the way the truth the life, no man comes to the Father except through me"...other verses "I am the door , if any man comes any other way he is a thief and a robber" Jesus -God's Son ,paid for our sins by dying on the cross so our sins can be totally washed away. it is the gospel of love. Jesus said to love your enemy. but the devil wants to trip you up, he will use religion to mislead you. anything but getting your sins washed away for the devil knows when your sins are washed away you are set free and are headed to heaven.

    I will never respect a mans teachings who married a 6 year old girl, and teaches about terror to unbelievers. in contrast, christianity teaches free choice. its totally up to the person to be set free or in bondage to lies of the devil. God is love and christians are proving that by the salvation army, world vision, compassion international, etc. God proves He is love by giving blessings to even wicked people. if God was of hate then america 'the great satan' would have been destroyed a long time ago but look, they are still blessed even though the world wide mafia has tried over and over to take away freedom and wealth.

    November 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
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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.