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. Javed

    "There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has indeed become distinct from the wrong. So whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All Hearing, All Knowing" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verese 256

    "...If anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And (likewise) if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole of mankind" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 5, Verse 32.

    "For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is mentioned much, would surely have been pulled down. Indeed Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly Allah is All strong, All mighty" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 40

    November 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  2. Joe from Virginia

    I firmly believe that muslims are pigs reincarnated. I think they were pigs in a before life,and were slaughtered and eaten. Then, they were reincarnated into muslims who, if you think about it, are spokespersons for pigs. Mohammed being the greatest pig of them all! So, Sharia Law...or Pig Law forbids one from eating pigs...it all makes sense now! The next time you see a muslim just realize that they are really pigs in disguise and their religion is the voice to save all pigs from being destroyed! Mecca is the holding pen for the largest gathering of pigs in the world. If you want to get rid of the pigs, destroy mecca.

    Now, does that paragraph above anger muslims? I hope so, but realize that it pales to how angry a Christian is when one of us is being put to death for our religious convictions, beliefs and love for God and His son Jesus Christ. Mull that over for a while..

    November 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
    • Yeah


      If you want dueling animal metaphors, then Christians are sheep - pigs actually have more intelligence than sheep, y'know - but in the end, both are generally less intelligent than humans (other than you and those like you).

      November 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • crawbar

      Joe, I could have not had said it better! How do you like the liberal yapping around here? 🙂

      November 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Joe from Virginia

      I'll take and mull over your comment when pigs fly! LOL

      November 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  3. No one

    Religion is POISON!..............Period

    November 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  4. Usman

    nice propaganda by CNN and the media to defame Islam even more....no where in the Quran does it say to kill some1 or punish them because they converted out of Islam...actually Quran clearly states "There is no compulsion in Religion". What we are seeing happening in Afghanistan is nothing but innovation and man made additions to the Islamic Law.

    Several Islamic scholar and theologians completely are against any punishment for converting out of Islam. Several others only think punishment should be there ONLY if the person converts out of Islam and then starts bashing / harming it and disrupts society. BUT STILL no where in the Quran or during Prophet's Life there is any indication of a person being punished for converting out of Islam. The Quran only talks about punishment in the hereafter.

    But nice try CNN. Instead we should be wondering what the heck our leaders are doing in Afghanistan if we can't even implement a sane society there in areas we have control over. HA

    November 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  5. Jon

    Yep... any one else sometimes feel like we backed the wrong side in Afghanistan? Not that the Taliban and Bin Laden weren't joined at the hip, one way or another... but yeah, Karzai and his lot really aren't helping things a whole lot, are they.

    November 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  6. Resist710

    Death for apostasy is written no where in the Quran. This is a cultural vestige designed to implement social control and conformity. This has nothing to do with religion.

    November 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  7. d

    brutal...well, like i always say it's just another case of social darwinism.

    November 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Mubaraka

    I hope the world becomes a better place and that all people learn to get along and love one another. Give a helping hand to those who need your help, start with your family and neighbor. Pay forward and see a miracle happen in your communities.
    Let your one act of humility become a joy right before your own eyes and pray that it go global. Just one act. Think about it people.

    Who cares what you or I think about religion.

    To you and yours....

    To me and mine....

    My hope is to be nowhere near the unbelievers on the day of rescurection happens, I am promised to see Jesus and gardens where rivers run beneath among other really kewl things all because I choose to believe and obey in the
    Alpha and Omega (Greek) ......... Allah (Arabic).

    The issue for this forum is the fact Said Musa life is at risk for making a decision to convert. The sharia law is the law of the land he lives in. Said Musa should have quietly taken his family to a christian society before he converted and he would have avoided all the hell he is going through.

    The USA should not have to police every society, especially when there is much dispair on own shores. We need to fix a lot of things right here at home. Fighting religious ideology should not be an issue. According to the First Amendment, we are free to believe...........whatever Religion.

    Afganistan has a right to have sharia law and like any gated community has their own set of rules to live there.
    Said Musa knew the deal. He decided to change everything but his location .... so now....
    the world should feel sorry and outraged about his punishment.

    What about the real injustices in our own society....
    the hungry babies, unemployment, poverty, healthcare just to name a few

    November 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Rhonda

      @mubaraka, yes you are correct on all points, so lets all just move forward....

      November 21, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  9. Carl in Atlantic City

    No matter what position you take regarding matters existential and divine, its hard not to view Islam as categorically apart from the rest of the conversation. Theist, Deist, or Atheist, we should be able to agree that this sort of rigid, draconian religious law is unacceptable in any faith tradition, and that Islam presently represents its fullest and most barbarous expression throughout the world. The civilized world has a moral (and I would say spiritual) obligation to vocally resist these dogmatic restraints on personal liberty.

    November 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • MicheleG

      Carl in Atlantic City = Thank you. Another well put, reasoned position on this barbarity.

      November 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  10. gmccyclist

    We may have an obligation to militarily go after the terrorists behind 9/11 in Afganistan but we don't need to spend Billions rebuilding this country without also expecting that civil law be established which respects basic human rights be a condition of that outlay. The same holds for Pakistan as well. The case of a christian woman possibly being put to death for an insult against Islam is a clear violation of a basic human right of freedom of religious thought. Let's simply cut all economic ties and trade with any country that places religious laws ahead of basic human rights. And if that includes Israel as well, then so be it.

    November 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  11. AnaHadWolves

    I am forced to conclude that Islam, as practiced in Afghanistan, is an unholy and evil religion. When someone opines that "Islam is a religion of peace", I can show them death threats for conversion to another religion, fatwahs for dissing Mohammed or Allah, stoning to death a woman who commits adultery, killing gay teens, killing innocent women and children to make a religious point and the list goes on endlessly.

    Please stop reciting that assinine and patently untrue mantra that "Islam is a religion of peace". It is not!

    November 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • MicheleG

      AnaHadWolves = thank you. Very well put.

      November 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  12. mms

    Christianity has reformed. People convert from and to Christianity all the time. Nobody stones them to death much and you will not find a non-Islamic state law which does this. You can talk all about what was done in the past. But remember what happens today is tomorrows past. Lets REFORM today!!!

    November 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  13. Coexist

    From the greatest philosopher of all time – "Stupid is as stupid does!"

    November 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  14. AndWhy

    And they tell us our troops, our children, are being sent to die in Afghanistan, why ? Remind me please because I am totally confused here. What a waste....

    November 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  15. JennyTX

    Please, let's bring our troops home from Afghanistan! I don't want our people over there dying to help a government that kills its own people for changing religions!!

    November 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  16. don

    I don't know a thing about sharia law but I bet a nickel that NOT converting from Christianity to Islam is also punishable by death.

    November 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  17. Scam Artist

    Stay away from all those "religious" muslims and/or christians. They are crazy. They all believe they are right and they have rights to kill for their freaking religions.

    November 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  18. Iqbal khan

    Whatever happening in the muslim countries is in the reaction against our actions like unjust wars and occupation!

    November 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  19. mudbone9

    Wow! so this is what we are over there fighting for. These a$$ backwards people need to be shot. I grew up a Catholic but don't ever go to church now. I guess I need to be executed to??? I say the US military needs to go in an extract this individual and their whole family and relocate them to a sane part of the world. Islam....phaaaaa!

    November 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  20. Chris

    For the unenlightened out there (or perhaps the unintelligent), the Crusades has nothing to do with Christianity. It had to do with power hungry Rome and false religion (unless of course you can find a New Testament Scripture that prescribed the Crusades. Secondly, quoting Old Testament Scriptures about false religion are descriptive and not prescriptive. For the layman, this means that Christians do not and cannot harm anyone of another religion or even someone who leaves Christianity to convert to another religion. I see a lot of very uninformed and reckless comments on this site.

    November 21, 2010 at 12:50 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.