March 21, 2006
An Afghan man is being prosecuted for becoming a Christian. Under the country’s Sharia law, it is a crime to reject Islam. The punishment is death.
The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan since the country’s liberation from the Taliban.
41-year-old Abdul Rahman was arrested last month after his family turned him in. Rahman told the judge he converted 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping afghan refugees in Pakistan. The judge said, “we are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law. It is an attack on Islam.” The judge will decide the fate of Rahman within two months. Meanwhile, Rahman is being held in jail.
The prosecutor said he would drop the charges if Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused. This is an outrage and an affront to freedom of religion and conscience. The U.S. State Department and the rest of the Bush Administration should make it clear this won’t be tolerated. You see what we’re up against?
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.