International Pressure Leads to Release of Afghan Convert
Dear Friends and Partners,
Before Christmas we sent an alert about Said Musa, an Afghan Christian convert who was arrested last spring along with two dozen others in a public campaign by the Afghan government to find and execute all Afghan converts. Today we have wonderful news: as a result of intense international pressure Musa has been freed and has obtained asylum in a western country but his family remains in danger. During his imprisonment Musa suffered various kinds of abuse and was pressured to recant his faith which he refused to do.
There are very few native Afghan Christians and all are converts from Islam who worship in secret to avoid being killed for apostasy. The on-going campaign against converts adds a new, intentional dimension to the persecution of Afghan Christians. This campaign began on May 27, 2010 when a television program claiming to show converts being baptized and praying triggered public demonstrations against converts. In response, pledges were made in the Afghan parliament and supported by President Karzai himself that all Afghan Christians would be found and executed and Christian aid organizations involved in converting Afghans would be punished.
Many other Christians who have been arrested since the broadcast remain in prison, including a man named Shoaib Asadullah whose case is expected to be brought before the court soon. Asadullah has been attacked and threatened by fellow prisoners and we have grave concerns for his safety.
Friends – we must not let up! Our men and women have died to bring peace, freedom, human rights, and dignity to the people of Afghanistan. Over 150 Canadian soldiers have shed their blood on Afghan soil in these last nine years, not to mention the men and women of so many other countries. Yet the government of Afghanistan – not the Taliban, but the Karzai government – tramples on our soldiers’ blood and tells its citizens at gunpoint what they may and may not believe!
Those who continue to be held by Afghan authorities for converting to Christianity must be released immediately and their safety ensured. The Afghan government must immediately cancel its anti-Christian policies, repudiate its statements about converts, and set about to ensure respect for the religious freedom of all of its citizens. It is not acceptable that Christians are exiled from their land or face the alternative of death, like Musa, Asadullah, or Abdul Rahman (whose case we shared in 2006), simply because of what they choose to believe.
Joining our voices with those of millions of others around the world, we helped to secure Said Musa’s release. We must ensure that our governments continue to keep up the pressure on Afghanistan. Afghan Muslims must be able to choose their own beliefs, whether that means holding on to their Muslim beliefs or converting to Christianity or any other religion of their choice, and they must be free to live and exercise their chosen beliefs in safety in their homeland.
• and thank God for Said Musa and the strength that he showed by standing up for his faith even when doing so caused great suffering and pray that he would adjust well to his new life and be able to use his experiences to strengthen the faith of countless others; pray also for the safety of his family;
• for the others arrested over the summer and since then, including Shoaib Asadullah, that they would have strength and courage in the face of cruel persecution, that their faith would remain strong against overwhelming pressures, and that they would be protected against harm and released quickly;
• for the other secret Afghan Christians, that they would have strength, courage, and boldness to stand up for their faith even though this could lead to possible torture or death; pray also for miracles of protection that would strengthen their faith and cause their persecutors to turn their efforts toward seeking truth and justice;
• for the people of Afghanistan, that they would experience true peace after decades of war and especially that they would have the freedom and courage to seek out truth and justice; and,
• for Afghan government officials, that they would understand the importance of governing their people with justice and righteousness and that they would stop persecuting Christians and other minorities; pray particularly that they would immediately release Shoaib Asadullah and the other converts and secure their safety.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
• to the ambassador of Afghanistan in your country, demanding that the Afghan government release Shoaib Asadullah and the other converts immediately, that it repudiate the statements officials have made against converts and repeal all apostasy laws, and that it respect and promote international human rights standards and the rights of all Afghans to religious freedom; and,
• to your government officials demanding that they honour the sacrifices made by our men and women by standing up for truth, justice, and human rights in Afghanistan; our governments must not rest until the Afghan government releases the Christian prisoners and takes concrete measures toward stopping the persecution and ensuring true religious freedom for all Afghan citizens.
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries