Thursday, March 23, 2006


I believe this story briefly made it on to the home page of the BBC News site. It concerns Mr. Abdul Rahman, an Afghan and a Christian converted from Islam 16 years ago, who is now under arrest in Afghanistan for converting from Islam and possibly faces the death penalty. Of course, the BBC being the BBC, gives no background to the case and comments on it from the standpoint of international politics. The only matter of personal interest is that some consider him to be mentally unstable. Of course this may be a loophole which allows the Afghan government to meet its declared obligations to human rights conventions while also upholding Sharia Law. If he is seen to be in his right mind, making a clear declaration of his faith in God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - then there is no hope for him.

A better human perspective is given on The man has had to face a long struggle since conversion. He has been cut off from his family, separated from his children who are now brought up by his parents, and endured detention centres in various Western countries while seeking asylum. Finally he was deported back to Afghanistan in 2002 (what kind of system would do that?!). Only after attempting to be reunited with his children in Afghanistan did his own Father report him to the authorities. Now he is undergoing trial for his life.

Mr. Rahman's case reminds us of the plight of many Christians converted from Islam in Islamic countries. Their life is intolerable, being subjected to the greatest of indignities, and their courage staggering. By contrast in this country Christians are subjected to wave upon wave of apathy and yawns. We think we have it bad because churches are small and it's hard to keep things going sometimes. But at the same time we are free to go about our worship, business and pleasure, indulging ourselves as we please, wherever we please like everyone else. But Mr. Rahman's plight reminds us that the gospel of Jesus Christ was once worth giving up family for, even dying for, in this country too.

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