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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. POPE13

    Or that fact that Christianity is so wide spread is that a years ago if you didn't believe in it you were slaughtered and was made to convert.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Steve

      How" many" years ago, Pope?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • Alex

      Pope13 must be 13 years old and trying to regurgitate his middle-school world history lesson.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  2. regertz

    Weren't most inhabitants of the Middle East Christians in the Mediterranean, Byzantine/Roman and Armenian areas and Zorasterians in the old Persian imperial areas until the 640s and later? So perhaps their descendants should explain their conversion to Islam (usually to avoid the Islamic conquerors' poll taxes) to their old faiths? Surely whether you're talking about Christianity, Islam, or any other faith, it's a pretty weak faith if it finds it necessary to enforce allegiance with death sentences?

    November 21, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  3. Dorian Dehaven

    This is the stupidity we have to face? this is inhumane a person has a right to believe in what he or she wants. A government cant say what you think. This is why church and state need to be separate. Its messed up to hear this, also did you know in the quran in some middle east countries it specifically says to use bombs,ammunition, and weapons to if people do not convert? i believe those things weren't even thought of back then? islam is no better than heavens gate or any other cult. or at least the evil ones.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  4. POPE13

    You guys kinda have it all wrong. sharia law is like the laws that Catholics have. Laws that don't even go against the religious books but at one time a religious leader decided had to be a law. And for people saying that Islam is violent. What about all the wars that were brought on by Catholics and Christians because of "in the name of god". Some of you forget that a if you got sick it was because you were a sinner.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  5. Mubaraka

    Steve you are just plain stupid! But in fact if I were to face death for believing in the One who created everything including me and you, that would be an honor.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Steve

      I'm guessing, just reading your posts Mub...I may be stupid, but you're just plain ignorant and pathetic...although you do validate the idiocy of religious fanaticism by admitting you'd die for the scrambled writings of some ancient scribe.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  6. POPE13

    Some of you are getting this wrong. sharia law is like doesn't exactly follow the karan. Its like the Religious Laws that Catholics follow. The pope dictates those laws. Its the same with some sects of Islam

    November 21, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  7. Pragmatist

    And now Pakistan wants an independent Kashmir so they can impose Sharia law on all it's citizens including a 20% minority Hindus and Christians instead of being part of secular India!! Like the world needs another Islamic state.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  8. Mubaraka

    Carl, who said that America is the police of the world. Our government has enough problems of its own. Poverty, healthcare fiasco, education, housing and homelessness just to name a few. If America would concentrate on America things would look up for the downtrodden and the world would look up to America.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  9. Steve

    You "should" be happy Mubarka...were we to adopt Islamic teachings here, you be facing death for professing faith to Allah, as opposed to the "one true God" of the bible.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  10. Carl

    Not one more American life should end over there if they act this way in the name of relgious freedom. Barbaric as it is. Our government should not tolerate this!

    November 21, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  11. rey

    the problem is not religion. its the people behind the "religion".

    November 21, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  12. xiaobao

    And the moderate Muslims speak out against this travesty. Oh wait, no they're not.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • Sue

      Yes, that is disconcerting, isn't it?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • Sue

      Maybe it's fear driven - they believe they will be targeted by extremists if they speak out?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Alex

      Or because they simply don't care about the "infidel"

      November 21, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • reality check

      But, he Muslim community DOES have a peaceful side. The only peaceful muslim is a dead one.

      November 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  13. Alex

    To those of you that are comparing the systematic murders of Christians in Muslim countries to isolated incidents in Ireland... you really need to get out and see the world. I would travel through Ireland in a heartbeat before I would go to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, etc. There is simply no comparison! For those bringing up the crusades, you should remember it was a response to Muslim expansion in Eastern Europe. If European Christians didn't fight, all Europe would be under Sharia law.

    I am not sure what your agenda is for trying to justify Muslim murders, but you are bad for America.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  14. Drake

    Any religion that calls for the death of nonbelievers is wrong.

    I know its also wrong to paint one religion monolithically across the board. But really. What have muslims done POSITIVE for the world in the last 200 years?

    November 21, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Islam Convert

      They got rid of some bad apples by having them prematurely detonate their bomb vests. I know that isn't much but when you consider we appreciate all the help we can get. It helps. I just wish their instructors would lead by example.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  15. Mubaraka

    Edward Grace, Jesus was crucified for believing and following the orders of his boss, Allah

    November 21, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Paul

      Jesus was killed because of the intolerance of thought, the suppression of speech, the injustice to the innocent.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Islam Convert

      Shoulda happened to Muhammad.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • Edward Grace

      JUVE 2 -0 GENOA ALLLLLAAAAHHHHHHHHH
      GOOOOOOOOAAALLLLLLLL, SHOOF KRASIC SHOOF
      KRASIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC, EXTRAODINAREEEEEEEE

      November 21, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  16. Sue

    Clearly I forgot to include atheism as one of the systems of beliefs who have intolerant adherents...

    November 21, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Paul

      Believe what you want, but don't kill me for it.

      November 21, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Sue

      @Paul - exactly!

      November 21, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  17. Jerry

    KAMRAN, you seem to be an idiot. Mohammad spelled differently is different parts of the wold.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  18. Brian

    All religions are cults. Some just more extreme than others.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  19. Sue

    Any system of belief, whether it is religious, political or social that feels the need to use oppression and even deadly force against someone who does not believe it's tenets probably does not have too much in which to have faith (and is likely a pretty warped interpretation). It is very much like a bully... insecurity causing inappropriate outward behavior. Often religions have behaved in this manner... the papacy-strangled church of the Dark Ages as well as many groups who call themselves Christian today, several Islamic states... I am a Christian and I cringe at the human suffering that has happened and is happening in the name of Christianity (Crusades, medieval torture and martyrdom, or more recently, Fred helps and his Westboro Baptist church who hurls invective at families of fallen soldiers at their memorial services). It is very sad that many who claim to believe in a thing so warp it to their own sick personalities as to destroy it and others with their venom. THIS is what God means when he says not to take his name in vain... "Don't call part of my family if you going to behave in such an evil manner - you deface my name and the names of those who really are my family, and you destroy the faith of others who might otherwise want to be part of my family."

    November 21, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  20. Edward Grace

    What would Jesus do ? Live long and Prosper.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:08 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.