“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
We are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Rev. El Shafie Testifies Before Canadian Parliament about Human Rights Abuses in Afghanistan
Dear Friends and Partners,
Canadian members of parliament heard compelling evidence recently about human rights abuses in Afghanistan as Rev. El Shafie brought testimony from his latest mission to the country to Parliament Hill. On November 30th Rev. El Shafie testified before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development The testimony can be viewed online at: http://parlvu.parl.gc.ca/ParlVu/ContentEntityDetailView.aspx?ContentEntityId=6958
The following day he spoke at a reception hosted by OFWI for members of parliament and the public.
Rev. El Shafie’s testimony centred around three issues that dominated his last visit to Afghanistan and which we have mentioned in past alerts. He discussed the impact on women’s rights of the recent passing of a discriminatory and even abusive personal status law for shi’a Muslims. He shared about the sexual slavery and abuse of young Afghan boys by powerful men (a practice called bacha bazi). Finally, he also highlighted a focused and deliberate campaign that was undertaken by the Afghan government this past spring to find and execute converts to Christianity.
The few native Afghan Christians are converts from Islam and worship in secret to avoid being killed for apostasy (you may recall the 2006 case of Abdul Rahman). The current campaign 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.
Friends – we should be outraged! 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!
One of the victims of this campaign is Said (“Sayed”) Musa, who was arrested after the television broadcast together with about two dozen others. Musa has not been told what the charges are against him and no lawyer will represent him when they find out that he is a Christian. He could be called before a judge without notice after he appeared in court on November 27th and the judge sent the file back to the prosecutor for corrections. In the meantime, Musa has written a letter to the international church and President Obama in which he pleads for help and tells of abuse that he has suffered in prison.
We must not stay silent. Said Musa and any others who have been arrested for converting to Christianity must be released immediately and their safety ensured. Furthermore, the Afghan government must immediately cancel its anti-Christian policies, repudiate the recent statements about converts, and set about to ensure respect for the religious freedom of all of its citizens. Friends, as we celebrate this Christmas season, we must not leave our Afghan brothers and sisters behind. Please take some time in the midst of your holiday busyness to stand up for Said Musa and the other converts who will be spending their Christmas alone and abused in a filthy prison cell.
Finally, at this Christmas season, we would also ask you to please carefully consider giving a special end-of-year gift to help OFWI cover the costs of the Afghanistan mission. Without your help we cannot continue to help those like Said Musa in Afghanistan and elsewhere who are suffering for their beliefs.
• for Said Musa and the others arrested over the summer, that they would have strength and courage in the face of cruel persecution and that their faith would remain strong against overwhelming pressures;
• for the other 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 the 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 Said Musa 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 Said Musa and the other converts immediately, that it repudiate the statements officials have made against converts and repeal any 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 Said Musa and the other Christians and begins to take 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: email@example.com
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
His Excellency Jawed Ludin
Embassy of Afghanistan
240 Argyle Ave.
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1B9
Tel.: (613) 563-4223; Fax: (613) 563-4962
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon
Minister for Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: (613) 992-5516; Fax: (613) 992-6802
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Fax: (613) 941-6900
In the United States:
Mrs. Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel, Chargé d’Affaires
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel.: (202) 483-6410; Fax: (202) 483-6488
Also, Mr. Mohammad Taqi Kahlili, Political Counselor
Secretary Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Tel.: 202-456-1111; Fax: (202) 456-2461