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. barbarainPA

    First off, those of you posting saying Islam is this, Islam is that.....you've been fed the Kool Aid and you've gulped it down.

    Islam is not the problem. This is alll about MONEY. Just Google PNAC and read their mission statement and check the dates and signers. They have been plotting this type of thing for a LONG time. They want to "globalize" America, which is ludicrous. Imagine if Saudi Arabia wanted to "globalize" the world – would we sit by and allow that to happen??!!? Right.

    There is a VAST amount of money to be made in Iraq (oil) and Afghanistan (lithium – the mountains have trillions of dollars worth of lithium), and we will not be leaving anytime soon. Those who stand to make the money off these "ventures" will not be sending their children to fight – they'll send YOURS!! Wake up people!!!

    November 21, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • Paul

      I don't see what Money has to do with it when someone wants to leave Islam, every family member, judge, copy, friend, and stranger in Islam wants to kill you, money aside.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:04 am |
    • Joe Williams

      We know what we see. Muslims kill other Muslims and anyone not Muslim or who is critical of Muslims..and then there is Iran who kills Muslims citizens who do not follow their Muslim commands. The Muslim faith is flawed!

      November 21, 2010 at 10:04 am |
    • Paul

      Nothing wrong with globalizing basic human rights that allows Christiens, Muslims and all faiths to co-exist in America. You can't globalize all the laws of every 50 state, but you can spread the dencency that comes with some of the American ways. This isn't about making a McDonald in every country, it's about protecting people's physical bodies, properties, and feeling of security, when they think differently. There is not ONE Muslim country that is truly fair with all religions, they all are biased against non-muslims, unless OF COURSE you have MONEY.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • barbarainPA

      Well, first off – it DOES have to do with money. Because no one in this country would give a tin crap about Afghanistan or Pakistan and what they do, if we were not THERE.

      That being said, if you knew anything about Islam, which it is obvious you do NOT, Omar – who was the 2nd caliphate after Muhammad's death – when he was invited to pray inside a church he refused as a means to show the Muslims that THIS IS NOT THEIR HOUSE OF WORSHIP, and to let the Christians pray in peace.

      Unfortunately, I do not think any "Muslim country" these days is following ISLAM they way it was decreed. Men are rulers and they do things THEY want to do – that does not mean that what they do is Islamically acceptable or right/just. It means they are power hungry and want to impose their own laws.

      There is no Muslim with even an iota of knowledge who will come on here and try and discuss Shari'a Law, unless they have studied it – it is very complex. Would those of you talking about Shari'a Law like you know what it means.....would you walk into a courtroom here in the USA and go about trying a murder case? Or a DUI case or ANY case??? I doubt it, because you DID NOT STUDY LAW!!! Why then do you pretend to know Shari'a Law just because you here snippets (incorrect as they may be) on some TV or radio show?!?!?

      It is forbidden to kill an innocent soul in Islam. Period. And God knows best in all matters.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • Paul

      You think none of us has read any of koran for research and talked with muslims about the conflicts in it?

      OF all the countries, AFghanistan is not that rich, compared to Saudi Arabia. We went in because 9/11, not money. We spent money, didn't make money. Why not go for much more rich Muslim countries if that was true, with OIL.


      I don't need to dig through a lot of complex tribal laws to figure out if you don't believe in this silly cult, that you should be able to walk away unharmed.

      BACK to MONEY, the only thing that will override the KORAN is MONEY, in most Muslims mind.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  2. They'reLiars

    Growing up in a country where Islam/Sharia law prevails – you'd think that there would be more people using whatever excuse they could dream up to leave to leave their country so they could live their lives differently. Those diapers on their heads must be tied too tight for them to think clearly or rationally. Muhammad sucks – he isn't a prophet he's the Devil with the most ignorant of people worshipping him. Any group of people who worship a so-called prophet instead of GOD are hopelessly doomed to Hell.

    November 21, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  3. califman

    and we let our young men and women go into this place and fight for them, we musa get out of there now, this is totally fricking wrong and obama should put his foot down on crazy eyes to stop this from happening and let the girl come to the US for safety, please.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  4. Willow

    What most people don't realize is that the Bible also has similar verses.

    Deuteronomy 13:6-9 "If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying: Let us go and worship other gods (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other, or gods of other religions), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people."

    So how many Christians are willing to go and murder their relatives who have converted to other religions, or who have become Agnostic or Atheists?

    The difference is that most Christians would not be able to stomach such a thing because Western society condemns it.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • holocaust

      Historical reference. Love each other as I loved you is the main theme of the bible.

      November 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  5. TommyAl

    Since Afganistan is practically under US control (The Afgan President is a puppet of US) Why can't they just tell him not to kill these people. I mean didn't NATO go in to bring freedom and democracy to this country, look at it now still a giant Sh*1 hole.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  6. Matt

    Week after week after week, I continue hearing horror stories about islam and then I read from those defending it – saying, "we're all not like that...." ... blah blah blah blah blah.

    Islam should be ERADICATED and if you believe in all of those crazy barbariac rules that go along with it, you should be included in the eradication. Case closed. Good bye.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  7. bugsbunny101

    2010.11.17 (Khuzdar, Pakistan) – Eighteen people are wounded when clerics at a mosque begin shooting at each other to decide who should lead prayer.

    islam at its finest

    November 21, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  8. wow

    Islam is Terrorism.

    We ARE at war with Islam.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • mohammy

      unless you're active in military service... you're just a poster of comments on cnn's belief blog.

      you should play RISK or battle ship. then you;d really be at war!

      November 22, 2010 at 1:12 am |
  9. sajjan

    if conversion from Christianity to Islam is a crime, resulting in death penalty, then those who forcefully and compellling minority to convert into Islam should be punished first. In almost every Islamic country minorities r forcefully compelled to convert into Islam, any answer

    November 21, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  10. Michelle

    Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

    Christianity or Islam?

    Sameul 15:3
    The true face of Christianity? I think not. All religions were founded when it was normal to rule the way Sharia Law specifies. Do I think it is right? No Do I think Islam is the end of all things as we know it? Absolutely not! Let all of us Christians take a note from OUR OWN RELIGION!
    In Luke 6:25-37 Jesus told his followers NOT to judge the wicked. He recommended that we love our enemies, the ungrateful, and the wicked because God treats everyone with kindness. Jesus didn't mention any conditions whatsoever upon which it is ok to judge, shun, or hate people. He made it clear that God loves everyone without conditions, whether they are good or bad, and his followers must do the same to please God.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  11. Frannk.

    Converting from Islam to any other religion will result in a trip to hell. Death for this crime is a small price to pay compared to the ultimate penalty.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  12. Joe Mahma


    Can we please just outlaw religion completely. It seems to cause more harm than it prevents.


    November 21, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  13. steve mann

    ""By: Nicole Jansezian

    While the world focused on Hamas militants launching rockets from Gaza at southern Israel, the terrorist organization also voted quietly to implement Islamic law in the Gaza Strip, including crucifixion of Christians, according to reports in the Arabic press.

    The traditional Muslim criminal code, known as Sharia law, includes penalties such as amputation of limbs for stealing and the death penalty, including crucifixion, for actions Hamas deems detrimental to “Palestinian interests,” including collaborating with Israel.

    The new law was reported on the Al-Arabiya Web site and in the London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat, which wrote that the implementation of Sharia law has “brought criticism and concern from human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

    This is just one example of many-
    These are the groups that the "Liberal Left" support over a Democratic country that dose not even have the death penalty, namely Israel. To wit these Liberals accuse Israel of Human Rights abuses- What hypocrites.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:41 am |
    • civilioutside

      A few failures of logic here. 1) just because Palestinians are guilty of human rights violations does not mean that Israelis are not. 2) The US does not support Hamas' rule of the Gaza Strip. They recognize The Palestinian Authority (which is often in open armed conflict with Hamas) as the legitimate governing body. So complaining about the actions of Hamas as an argument against what "we" are supporting is a straw man.

      November 22, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  14. The_Mick

    Islamic nations blast Western ones for depicting images of religious figures but don't blast each other for their lack of religious tolerance. As long as the current Western toleration of Islam/Islamic intolerance of other religions continues, we can expect that Islam will become the world's dominant religion and that there's a good chance our descendants, if they're religious, will be Muslim in several generations.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  15. DMcK

    (not finished) People still ignore the info and whine about 'racism' or some other nonsense which is not the case. If we do not wake up and separate our country from these fanatics they will weaken us with ever increasing dept and death. That is part of their plan. Already we don't know how we will ever pay down our debt. In addition, through their organizations such as CAIR they work the 'victim' status to get their way. 'Hate speech' laws made to block freedom of speech here, Europe, UK, in UN countries are to keep us from exposing their cruelty & bow to their demands. Unbelievably, our weak leaders buy into this. They arrest our citizens while allowing muslim immigrants to riot & scream hatred without penalty. Just check google or youtube for info in France, Germany, Sweden, UK, etc. Get out of their counties & isolate now, and get their non-citizens out of ours. Stop all muslim immigration, remove citizenship & deport remaining muslims displaying unlawful behavior. Do it now, – there is no later.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:40 am |
    • K

      So true, DMcK!
      This was already talked about in the 1970's. The Middle East won't bring us down by military power nor might; they will bring us down economically.

      November 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  16. Night Shades

    This story shows the true meaning of Islam, yeah, sharia is law is peaceful- every mission, I've ever been on there was something to remind just how good we have it back home.This is just more proof how twisted this so-called religion is..

    You can do anything you want to these people but you can hide the facts-Sharia is state and religion wrapped up in both..

    You disobey the regilion, you disobey the state..

    November 21, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  17. Ron

    What's the penalty for switching from Coke to Pepsi?

    November 21, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • RightWingMark

      Being banished from sanity into the Democratic Party for eternity.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • Skippy

      actually, there was a big uproar in the 90's because some extremists said coke written in script upside down spelled satan in arabic, so switching from pepsi to coke probably could get you killed. it is on the internets so it must be true!

      November 21, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • Ron

      So then what you're really saying is "sharia law is more moderate", right?

      November 21, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • Jonathan

      Isn't drinking pepsi enough of a punishment?

      November 21, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • K_a_m_R_a_n

      Mountain Dew is better

      November 21, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • bigd

      Drink Coke in Mecca Land and they will put you to Death.

      Not kidding – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecca-Cola

      Allah Ho Akbar! Death to Coke! Mecca Cola Ho Akbar!

      November 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Hallux

      Stomach upset. 🙂

      November 21, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  18. leftover

    It would be useful to know where the death penalty for conversion can be found in sharia law. Can this claim be verified with a little chapter and verse, or does CNN expect the reader to accept its unverified, unsubstantiated assertions as…well…gospel? Sharia law is written down, like Christian scripture, so it should be no problem for journalists to verify a statement like, "Under sharia law, converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death," with a little chapter and verse. Otherwise, the reader of the "Belief" section has no evidence to support a belief that CNN actually knows what it's talking about.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • steve mann

      Muhammad ordered to kill the apostates; if somebody (Muslim) discards his religion, kill him)–Sahih Bukhari, 4.52.260.

      Hope this helps.

      November 21, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • leftover

      @steve mann
      Thanks for the effort, but it doesn't. Unless, of course, you possess some claim to authority on sharia law you neglect to mention.
      I expect the journalist making the assertion that conversion is penalized with death to verify said assertion with some authority. Some chapter and verse, a quote from a recognized authority, something one would expect to see from a journalist recognizing professional ethics and standards of professional conduct. My cursory knowledge of Islam and sharia law leads me to believe sharia law is as open to interpretation as Christian law or even secular law. Journalists, when reporting on Christian law or secular law routinely cite some manner of authority. A cleric, a judge, a lawyer, a politician or professor, somebody with expertise, actual or perceived, on the subject. To expect the reader to accept less because Muslim law is the subject is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to the reader. It's not journalism. It's propaganda.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Nimrod

      You asked for chapter and verse, Steve Mann gave it to you but now you want more. How much more? What is your agenda?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • leftover

      Steve Mann is not Matiullah Mati. As far as I know, neither possess any authority on Islam nor sharia law. I don't expect any from Mann, (although I appreciate his effort as I endeavor to understand his citation). I do, however, expect some sort of verification that Mati is reporting fact, or at least an informed comment. Mati and CNN claim Mati is a journalist. That too, it seems, needs some verification.
      My agenda is responsible journalism. If I am to believe CNN and Mati, I need more than a banner and a byline to be convinced. As I stated, which you may have missed, making unsubstantiated assertions and expecting them to be believed without any verification is not journalism. It's propaganda. It's insulting to my intelligence. It's insulting to the profession. What CNN and Mati report on a death penalty for conversion may be true. It may not. I have no way of knowing from what they pass off as journalism. And neither do you.

      November 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • .308

      @ leftover

      People "LIKE YOU" need to start making sense. Soon. Your vacuous, circular arguments are quickly becoming irrelevant to my well-being. If it isn't sharia law, then what "law" is being used? I'm sick of Muslim 'logic'. It only seems to apply to them, it's context is changeable as play-doh, and it's used only when it's convenient. Wrong meaning, wrong understanding, wrong interpretation, wrong interpreter, wrong text, wrong language... It's all just a transparent blow of smoke up my @ss, isn't it?

      November 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  19. noj

    Not being saved , and being executed by a national govt for religious reasons are two different things. You are only unsaved if you believe to start with its a catch 22. But not relevant to the issue.

    November 21, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  20. Barbara

    Islam takes the idea of "double standard" to the extreme. When will people here realize that Islam does not tolerate religious freedom. Name one other religion where people face the death penalty because they've converted to another religion? There isn't. The more muslims that immigrate here... the greater their influence on politics. Evidently, if there is enough of them voting, they will be able to vote themselves into office and possibly change our democratic ways. My husband worked with a "peace loving" muslim for years at a major communication company. When asked if he was ordered to kill someone in the name of Islam, his reply was... of course I would... I would have too. So on the day of jihad, who do you trust?!

    November 21, 2010 at 9:31 am |
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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.