17 Jun, 2010 An Open Letter from the Afghan Christian Community – AN URGENT PLEA FOR HELP & INTERVENTION
- Soldiers of predominately Christian nations like the USA, Australian and Great Britain have been sacrificing their lives in an attempt to establish peace and the rule of law in Afghanistan. Is the public execution of Christians what they have been dying for?
- Afghanistan’s constitution was established under the watchful eye of a foreign military presence. Yet this constitution states that laws must be based on Islam. This implicitly makes the Islamic Sharia the basis of law, and the Sharia includes laws which mandate the killing of apostates. (Article 3: “No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.” Also Article 119, the Judge’s oath states: “I swear in the name of God Almighty to attain justice and righteousness in accordance with tenets of the Holy religion of Islam“.)
- Any Afghan who is born as the child of a Muslim father, and who later becomes baptized as a Christian would be in danger of his or her life in Afghanistan today. The irony is that this is the situation of President Obama. Obama explained how he was raised in a secular home and has put out statements that he is not and never has been a Muslim. I do not question Obama’s personal faith. My point is a different one, that if he was brought to trial in Afghanistan today, Obama would most likely be convicted of apostasy, because of his birth to a Muslim father.
INTRODUCTION TO THE LETTER
We need your help to stop the Afghan government from arresting Afghan Christians and condemning them to death by public execution!
The enclosed letter addresses recent events inside Afghanistan that have unfolded since May 27th, 2010 after an incendiary documentary showing photos and videos of secret “Afghan Christian Converts” aired on Noorin TV, an independent tv station based in Kabul. The documentary was the first of its kind to ever air publicly on national TV in Afghanistan, a country that considers itself to be 100% Muslim. The controversial content, revealing names and faces of supposed Afghan Christian converts, sparked riots and demonstrations throughout Afghanistan in the days that followed.
During the ensuing protests, demonstrators called on President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government to take strong and decisive actions against these exposed Afghan Christian converts by enforcing the Afghan constitution, based on Islamic Sharia law, which clearly call for the arrest and public execution of anyone who leaves Islam for another religion.
According to an online report by the Associated Free Press dated June 1, 2010, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, deputy secretary of the Afghan lower house in parliament, called for the execution of Christian converts from Islam saying, “those Afghans that appeared in this video film should be executed in public, the house should order the Attorney General and the NDS (intelligence agency) to arrest these Afghans and execute them”.
In another reported statement, Qazi Nazir Ahmad, a lawmaker from Herat, declared that killing a Muslim who converts to Christianity is “not a crime”. Waheed Omar, the spokesman for the President, told reporters that President Hamid Karzai himself was “personally” taking an interest in this case, and had ordered his interior minister and the head of the country´s spy agency to do a full investigation and “to take immediate and serious action to prevent this phenomenon”.
Reports from inside Afghanistan already tell of many arrests in recent days, frequent and ongoing searches of homes and businesses, as well as claims of torture by those under arrest in an effort to forcibly extract the names of other Afghan Christian converts and the locations of secret Afghan Christian “churches” and underground fellowships throughout the country.
In light of all these events, and the perplexing media silence on these atrocities occurring in plain view of the international community, we are pleading with the Body of Christ around the world to support our Afghan Christian brothers and sisters during this critical time by taking a firm and vocal stand against the severe and devastating wrongs being committed against them by their own government!
We ask that you please forward and share the enclosed “open letter to the church” with your friends, churches, prayer groups, human rights advocates, the media, your local representatives, senators and other government bodies and authorities… We need everyone’s help to make our voices heard!
We must make people aware that right now our Afghan Christian brothers and sisters are being subjected to forcible arrest, intimidation, fear, torture and certain public execution merely for choosing to be Christian! We must raise up a standard against these egregious injustices and blatant human rights violations by taking a strong and public stand against these unconscionable actions being perpetrated and condoned by the Afghan government from the parliament floor against its own people!
The enclosed letter was written on June 8, 2010 by Afghan Christians who are currently living in exile from their beloved homeland because they were forced to flee their country in order to save their lives and the lives of their families, due to orders of execution issued against them by the Afghan government for choosing to convert to Christianity:
Letter to the Body of Christ around the world,
written by members of the Afghan Christian community on June 9, 2010:
To the Body of Christ:
This letter is written by the Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi, India which is a small community of 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers.
We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith (conversion), as Afghanistan is a Muslim Country, the Afghan Government is an Islamic government, and Islam is the only formal religion of the country, and according to the Constitutional law of the Afghan Islamic Republic, conversion is considered as a big crime, Christian are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Christians are considered criminals. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to the true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of all human being.
We believe that you (the Body of Christ) have already heard that some pictures and movies of the Afghan believers (from Delhi and Kabul) were shown by an Afghan Private TV (Noorin TV), this TV channel showed these picture in a especial program (Sarzameen Man), and the Government and people were encouraged and provoked to think about the issue of conversion, to make a stand against it and to take serious and practical measures and actions to destroy Afghan Converted Christians (Sons of God) and those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lost.
The Afghan Parliament, Senate, Religious Council and Islamic Parties and leaders made statements that the Afghan Government has to search, find, arrest, deliver to courts and executes all Afghan Christians, and the Christian NGOs and Organization have to be stopped too. University students protested against Afghan Christians in Kabul and Herat Provinces, and the Afghan Government also made a statement that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed, and the Christian NGOs and Organizations which involved with the issues of conversion will be closed.
Mr. Mujajdi the Chairman Of Afghan Senate said that if the Afghan Government does not take serious action, he and other Islamic leaders will call and request the Afghan people to take practical measures to kill all Afghan Christians. President Karzai himself showed his personal interest in this regard and said that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed and Christian organizations which are involved with this issue will be stopped. He ordered the Afghan security organs to take serious measures in this regard. The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of the Afghan Intelligence told the Afghan Parliament that 4 Afghan Christian individuals and one family have been arrested and they are under investigation, 13 NGOs have been named and suspended, the names of Afghan Christians have been listed, and the Afghan Intelligence agency is trying to arrest them. Two Church organizations by the names of WCA and NCA have been closed. As we are in contact with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, many believers are arrested, our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are misplaced.
- So, We (Afghan Christian Community) along with our other Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who are in Afghanistan request you to:
- Please pray for us and for this critical situation, pray for those who are arrested, and those who are under investigation.Please come together and help your Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are sentenced to death, we are arrested, we are under investigation, the Afghan Government kills us because we believe on Jesus Christ, we know that we should consider it pure joy when we suffer (James 1: 1 -4), and we are enjoying all suffering all joy. But we also know that faith without deeds is useless (James 2: 14 – 17), and this is the time to raise your voice for your brothers and sisters, for our children, for our old parents, for the execution of thousand Afghan believers. This is the day that all of us should come together and pray, think, help and raise our voices to the International Community, to put pressure on the Afghan Government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians, to give us freedom of religion, to respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.
- We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes, while thousand of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty, and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals because they believe in the Truth.
We need to wake up, get up and speak up today, and to prove it that we are really in concern, and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should help the persecuted part of the body of Christ, for His Glory. If we really believe that Lord Jesus Christ is God, then, He commands us to love Him and to love our neighbor, if our own brothers and sisters, are in pain and suffering, and we are silent and we ignore them and their suffering, then the question is that do we really obey Lord Jesus’s commandment to love Him and our neighbor?
So, dear brothers and sister (the Body of Christ), we (Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi) on behalf of all Afghan Christians request you to support us by your prayers and practical measures, let us tell the Afghan Government that we are not pagans and infidels, we are not criminals because of our Christian faith, and let us tell them not to sentence us to death.
May God bless you!
Afghan Christian Community
(Obaid S. Christ)
Mark Durie is the founding director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Senior Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at the Melbourne School of Theology.