Bishop Huber Welcomes Release of Christian in Afghanistan
Berlin, March 28 (idea) – The German Protestant leader Bishop Wolfgang Huber has welcomed the release of Christian Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan. But despite the good news the basic problem remains: The application of Sharia law in the case of conversion contradicts universal human rights, says Huber.
Even if Rahman finds refuge in a Western nation, he cannot be reunited with his family. This was, after all, the main reason for Rahman’s return to Afghanistan, says Huber. He is the highest representative of 25.8 million Protestants in Germany.
Rahman became a Christian 16 years ago while working with a Christian relief agency in Pakistan and lived in Germany for nine years.
After his conversion his wife divorced him. Because he could not obtain immigration status in the European Union he returned to Afghanistan in 2002. When he tried to regain custody for his 13- and 14-year old daughters, he was arrested for apostasy.
This is regarded as a crime punishable by death under the Islamic Sharia law, which is part of the Afghan constitution. Rahman refused to recant his Christian faith in court.
International political and religious leaders appealed to President Hamid Karzai to release Rahman. Eventually the charges were dropped. Judicial officials raised questions about Rahman’s mental state. Under Sharia law, mentally disturbed persons cannot be punished.
Rahman was released from prison March 28 and disappeared. Italy has offered the 41-year-old Christian asylum.
Meanwhile the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) in Frankfurt, Germany, has called attention to the plight of more Christian converts in Afghanistan. At least three were convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death last year. They are in death row waiting for their execution according to ISHR.