Friday, March 24, 2006

Afghan Judge in Convert Case Vows to Resist Foreign Pressure

NYT reports Despite growing international concern, the judge presiding over the prosecution of an Afghan man facing the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity said today that international pressure would not affect his rulings in the case. Ansarullah Mawlavi Zada, the head of the public security tribunal here in the Afghan capital, said he had received no international pressure to date, but vowed to resist it.

Will he allow the Koran to influence his decision? Surah 2:256 – “There is no compulsion in religion…”
Surah 16:82 – “Then, if they turn away, your duty (O Muhammad) is only to convey (the Message) in a clear way.”
Surah 42:48 – “But if they turn away (from Islam). We have not sent you as a Hafiz (watcher, protector) over them (to take care of their deeds and to recompense them). Your duty is to convey (the Message)…”
Surah 88:21-22 – “And so, (O Prophet!) exhort them, your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.”

If even Muhammad was commanded not to carry out punishments on those who turned away from Islam, how much less should Afghanistan’s courts prosecute anyone who decides freely to convert to a different religion?
"There is no direct pressure on our court so far, but if it happens we will consider it as an interference," said Mr. Zada. He added that he expects to rule in the case in the next several days.

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