In March, 2006, media outlets worldwide reported the case of Abdul Rahman, an Afghan who had left Islam to follow Christ. Rahman was likely to face execution for his “crime.” Under intense foreign pressure, Afghan president Hamid Karzai arranged for Rahman to be declared mentally unfit to stand trial and sent to Italy under the auspices of the Pope. Karzai promised that religious freedom for Christians in Afghanistan would be respected.
Nothing apparently has changed. The latest information indicates that there are now two Afghan Christians facing similar threats. Sayed Mossa was jailed in late May with no formal charges, though his “crime” is clearly leaving Islam for Christ. He has been routinely beaten and tortured since then. Mossa, 45, has a wife and six children, all under age 8, and one of whom is disabled. He himself is an amputee dependent on a prosthesis for one of his legs. A letter written by Mossa pleading for help is addressed in part “to the international church of the world.” It is signed, “your destitute brother in the world.” You can see a copy here.
Mossa had worked for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) for over 15 years. Strangely, the ICRC has not attempted to intervene or even visit Mossa, in spite of its own mandate to “visit prisoners” and “help victims of conflict and internal violence, whoever they are,” as stated on its website. Readers may wish to contact them to ask why. Their website, http://www.icrc.org/eng/who-we-are/contacts/index.jsp
offers an easy method to send a message.
The second Christian in imminent danger is Shoaib Assadullah. He was jailed on October 21 for giving a Bible to another Afghan. He was given until January 4 to return to Islam or face death. It is not known at this time what his condition is. A Pamir Productions representative spoke with him on December 31, according to International Christian Concern. Assadullah stated at that time that he has given his life completely into the hands of Jesus and stated, “without my faith I would not be able to live.”
These two cases remind us of the limits of government and even military solutions, especially when dealing with entire societies that are controlled by Islamists. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars trying to reform Afghanistan’s judicial system, training judges and all manner of court officials to follow the rule of law.
Here are some things we can do:
1) Pray that Mossa and Assadullah’s faith will remain unshakable. Pray that the presence of Christ will become vivid to them. Pray that God uses these imprisonments to increase the boldness of believers in Afghanistan (Phil. 1:14), and to open the eyes of Afghans who are in darkness. Ultimately, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (II Cor. 10:4).
2) Call the embassy of Afghanistan in Washington and ask that Mossa and Assadullah be granted freedom. Afghanistan’s constitution promises freedom of religion for non-Muslims. Even the Qur’ an states without qualification that there be “no compulsion in religion.”
The embassy number is (202) 483-6410.