Four years ago, I wrote about the case of Abdul Rahman, an Afghan convert to Christianity who was charged with apostasy (punishable by execution under Islamic law). Thanks to worldwide pressure on the Karzai government, he was released and offered asylum in Italy.
As I noted in my earlier piece, the Afghan Constitution in its own terms guarantees religious freedom and expresses respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also affirms Afghanistan’s status as an Islamic state and holds that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” The tensions between these provisions are obvious and are described in the State Department’s recently released annual report on International Religious Freedom.
Well, now we have another case—Said Musa, another convert, who has been held in prison since May and was set to face a judge yesterday. He was able to smuggle a letter out of prison and has appealed to (among others) President Obama for assistance.
Ann Althouse notes that four years ago, President Bush asked for Abdul Rahman’s release, and wonders whether President Obama will do the same in this case. Let’s hope and pray that he lives up to the strong statements in defense of religious liberty that he has from time to time made.