16 NOVEMBER 2010
Afghan convert tortured and abused in jail
Barnabas calls the West to press for his release
Barnabas Fund is calling for Western governments to intervene on behalf of an Afghan convert from Islam to Christianity who has been tortured and abused in prison because of his faith.
Said Musa (45), a father of six, was arrested in late May as part of a crackdown against Afghan converts to Christianity and was due to stand trial this week. Observers say he is likely to be charged with apostasy from Islam – a crime that is punished by death under Islamic law. Some leading political figures in Afghanistan called earlier this year for the execution of converts. (Read Afghan Christians Plead for Help as they are Exposed and Threatened with Execution – 18 June 2010)
In a heart-rending handwritten letter, which he passed to a Western supporter who visited him in jail last month, Said appealed for help and prayers from his brothers and sisters around the world.
The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head, mocked me ‘he’s Jesus Christ’, spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day… Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me.
(View full letter here)
Said was arrested following a television broadcast in Afghanistan on 27 May of a baptismal service, which led to a frenzied anti-Christian response including public demonstrations and government threats. Said, who has previously had a leg amputated, was one of around 25 believers subsequently detained. At least one other Christian may also remain in jail, possibly many more.
Barnabas Fund calls on Western governments to put pressure on the Afghan authorities to release Said and uphold the country’s commitment to freedom of religion.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
The West can no longer turn a blind eye while the Afghan regime that it fought to put in place imprisons and tortures ordinary Christians and is calling for them to be killed simply because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please write to your elected representative and ask them to raise this as a matter of urgency with the relevant government department (for UK readers please ask your MP to raise it with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).
• That the Afghan government will come under increasing international pressure to release Said and uphold the right to religious freedom throughout the country.
• That the Lord will strengthen and uphold Said who, despite his ordeal, is determined to proclaim his faith in Jesus.