Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Christian Under Death Sentence for Apostasy

ICC Calls on Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai to Pardon The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) is calling on Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai to defend religious freedom and freedom of conscience in his country by pardoning Abdul Rahman. Rahman is facing the death penalty for apostasy (rejecting Islam).
I hope he will listen to them.
Rahman, who is about 41 years old, converted from Islam to Christianity over 16 years ago.
This is not a new conversion, so the new Constitution should not call for his death. I would hope that they would be even more accepting than that, and that even recent converts to Christianity should be free to practice their new faith.
He was turned in to authorities last month by his own family for rejecting Islam. Afghanistan’s new constitution declares that no law can be contrary to the religion of Islam, which radical Muslims say demands the death penalty for any Muslim who abandons their faith.
There must be something very wrong with the Muslim faith if the only way they can keep people is to kill those who leave the faith.
However, Afghanistan’s constitution also demands that the state protect the liberty and dignity of all people, and affirms the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 18:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
As we do not believe the people of Afghanistan would have ratified a constitution that contradicts itself, ICC urges the government of Afghanistan to consider that Islam is not in conflict with this portion of the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights. In fact, the Qur’an itself supports freedom of conscience in view of Allah’s absolute authority as judge:

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?

Danny Carlton blogged When you are willing to kill people who leave your "religion" and are willing to kill yourself in an attempt to kill people who are not of your "religion" then perhaps it's not a religious you're following—but a maniacal, insane delusion.

No comments: