Clarity on Honor Killings


I have posted several times about the troubling rise of so-called “Honor Killings” in North America. I am happy to report that Canada has stepped up to the plate and and taken a mighty swing against the heinous Muslim practice of killing your children in order to protect your honor.  One wonders how indeed it could be possible that honor might be upheld by murdering your offspring.  Nevertheless, Canada has called it like it is.  The Judge had this to say:

“It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honorless crime,” Maranger said. “The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honor … that has absolutely no place in any civilized society.”

To which, Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson added that honor killings are “barbaric and unacceptable in Canada.”

Good job, Canada.  Let’s hope many more juries and courts will follow suit in Canada and the U.S.

Sadly, there is growing evidence that the problem is both misunderstood (in Western countries) and intentionally unrecorded (in Muslim countries).  The Middle East Quarterly tracks honor killings worldwide and reports that the often-reported figure of 5,000 per year is woefully deficient.  The number is much higher, although given the present circumstances that assertion is difficult to prove.  For political purposes, many end up distorting the figures and mischaracterizing the crimes as something other than what they are. As always, defenders of evil tend to obfuscate reality with more fake fog than a bad magician.  For once, a judge and jury have blown away the smoke and have made the matter clear.  Honor killings are barbaric and have no place in civilized society.

A Letter from Shoaib


Though Shoaib’s letter is not as powerful as the letter we posted from Said Musa last week, there is an urgency about this letter.  It is clear from the letter that Shoaib is appealing to the Afghan Government based on its own constitution.  He is appealing to the government for justice, which is what the government is supposed to provide.

However, governments often forgo justice in the name of political expediency.  Indeed, Shoaib’s biggest fear is that the government will yield to Islamic pressure and follow Shariah law, which he says would surely mean his death.  So, I think our first priority is to appeal to the Lord of the universe, the one for whom the mountains melt like wax (Ps 97:5).  Remember Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

Beyond appealing to the Lord Almighty, we may also wish to appeal to the U.S. Embassy.  The contact information (courtesy of ICC) is as follows:

Afghanistan embassy in the U.S.
Phone: (202-483-6410).
Web address is www.embassyofafghanistan.org.

Also, courtesy of Baptist Press and ICC, there is a translation of Shoaib’s Letter:

“My name is Shoaib Said Assadullah. I am 23 years old. For the last four months I have been imprisoned in Qasre Shahi prison, Mazar-e Sharif for the crime of apostasy, which means I’ve changed my beliefs.

“Not only has my freedom been taken from me, but I [am] undergoing severe psychological pressure. Several times I have been attacked physically and threatened to death by fellow prisoners, especially Taliban and anti government prisoners who are in jail.

“These assaults on my human dignity have affected me negatively, close to the point of death. On the other hand, the court has delayed their decision so that my apparent psychiatric problems will be cured. I do not think this is possible in prison.

“My case is supposed to be sent to the court shortly, because the prosecutor has the right to hold a case only for 30 days. The court’s decision is most definitely going to be the death penalty for me, because the prosecutor has accused me under the Clause 139 of the [Afghan] criminal code which says, ‘If the crime is not cited in the criminal code, then the case has to be referred to the Islamic Shariah law.’

“Furthermore, my mother died less than a month ago from the grief that her beloved son was jailed with the threat of the death penalty over him. The authorities did not even allow me to attend the funeral ceremonies and pay my respects to her. This is against Clause 37 of in the [Afghan] law regarding prisons.

“Not seeing my mother for the last time was more painful than anything else. I would like to add that freedom is a gift from God. This means that we have to respect human freedom and dignity. Clause 24 of Afghan Constitution says, ‘Human freedom and dignity is an unalterable right. The government is committed to respect and protect human freedom and dignity.’

“Article 3 of the [U.N.] Universal Declaration of Human Rights is violated if the Afghan government does not respect Articles 18 and 19. [1] Article 3 of Declaration of Human Rights says: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.’ Simply stated, if Sharia law is implemented in my case, the Articles 1, 2, 3, 18 and 19 of the Declaration [of] Human Rights will be violated.

“I request that you follow my case.

“Sincerely,

“Shoaib”

Said Free but Shoaib in Danger


In a wonderful sign of Christian unity, thousands of Christians took action on behalf of Said Musa, an imprisoned Christian facing death in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity.  Said Musa HAS BEEN FREED from prison and is now safely out of the country.

Shoaib Assadullah

But Said Musa was not alone.  Another Christian—Shoaib Assadullah—is facing the same possibility for his crime of converting to Christ.

Shoaib, in his early twenties, was arrested on October 21, after he gave a New Testament to one of his friends.  The friend gave the New Testament to Muslim authorities, who summarily arrested Shoaib.  Though he has not been formally charged, this young man also faces the death penalty under anti-conversion laws in Afghanistan.

Even though Shoaib’s family does not agree with his conversion to Christ, they are spending their time and their money trying to get him free.  According to this report, Shoaib’s family has exhausted their income and savings trying to save his life.  As his father said, “He’s my son. Whatever he believes, I have to help him.”  His father’s help has not prevailed over the authorities.

Shoaib remains in jail facing death for converting to Christ.  In December, Shoaib was offered the opportunity to be freed if he would renounce Christ and return to Islam.  He refused, and the judge told him that he would either be sentenced to death or he would be in prison for 20 years.  Though he has appealed, he remains in prison, possibly facing death for faith in Christ.

As International Christian Concern says, “We must remain vigilant and keep the public and diplomatic pressure alive by continuing to shout with one voice for Shoaib Assadullah until together, we can also celebrate his release.”  Amen! We must keep up the good work for Shoaib even as we celebrate Said Musa.

And we must keep praying (see 2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

Why Said Musa Really Went to Jail


The news is still positive concerning Said Musa. We should remember that his help has come from above, just as Paul’s help came to him through the prayers of the saints (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

International Christian Concern has a good piece concerning Said Musa’s case from an American political perspective.  There are other well-done news stories, too.  The New York Times article I referenced yesterday may be the best among them.  But the proverbial saying surely holds true; when you want to know something, go straight to the horse’s mouth.  (Skilled horsemen can tell the age of a horse by looking in his mouth).

So, those wanting to know about Said Musa and about why he is in jail should go straight to the source–to Said Musa himself.  Here is the last letter which has been received

Letter from Said

from Said Musa, and it is remarkable.  It is a little hard to read, given the broken English, misspelled words, and difficult grammar.  But just like the Revelation of John, though some things are hard to make out, they are so full of glory that it makes the labor of reading them nothing but joy.  Take about 10 minutes to read this letter and see if it does not impact your life.  You will know why he really went to jail.

From his perspective, Said Musa is not in jail because of discrimination, intolerance, oppression, or any other man-centered reason.  Said Musa is in prison to do the will of the Father, and, Oh, how well he has done that from his prison cell!  Work through the letter, and you will see what I mean.

More on Said Musa


Concerning Said Musa, there are reports that American pressure is working.  All the tweets and prayers are having an effect.  Denny Burk, once again, has done a great job of getting out the information.  His post today details the signs of hope for Said.  So, we should keep the pressure on as much as possible.  I have linked here an article which has several links at the bottom of the page which will take you directly to the people and agencies you need to contact.

Said Musa

A New York Times story offers this glimmer of hope from a prosecuting attorney in Afghanistan:  “Based on Shariah law, whoever converts from Islam should be sentenced to death,” said the prosecutor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But based on international agreements that Afghanistan has accepted and agreed with, Sayed Mussa has a chance to be released.”

I have learned more about Said, and I have to say his faith is strong indeed.  He has received help from no one.  He has been assigned 2 lawyers, neither of whom has ever helped him.  Indeed, the judge prohibited the first lawyer from helping him.  The second lawyer showed no desire to help him.  And to make matters worse, during Friday prayers, the mullahs have been broadcasting the message that anyone who defends an infidel is also an infidel.  That message appears to be resonating with defense lawyers.

Not only did judges and lawyers abandon him, but, apparently, even the International Red Cross disposed of this innocent man.  He worked with the Red Cross for 15 years, helping to fit people with prosthetic limbs.  Mussa himself has an artificial leg, and, so, he has been able to help many others adjust to living with an artificial limb. According to this story (which is now 2 months old), the Red Cross refused to help their former employee on the grounds that he was arrested for religious reasons—never mind the fact that their professional pledge is to help whoever has need.

Still, as I said, Said’s faith is strong.  He first heard of Christ in a crisis situation.  During an earlier Afghanistan war, he watched his neighbor’s house destroyed by a bomb.  His neighbor had 8 children.  According to the story, the bomb leveled the house, killing 7 of the 10 family members.  The one thing which impacted Said more than seeing the house bombed however was watching a group of fearless ladies run into the bombed house and begin digging, trying to help anyone who may have lived through the horror.  Though there was continuing gunfire, the women did not waiver from offering their lives in aid. Said was impressed.

“When I saw these women and their compassion for my people, it affected me,” he said. “I asked people who they were and they said they are the followers of Jesus Christ.”

 

 

Full Update on Said Musa


Said Musa

As you have probably read, Said Musa is scheduled to be executed within the next three days. It has been encouraging to see so many people waking up the horrific realities of Christian persecution, especially as it exists in Muslim countries.  The Christian Post points out that Christian leaders from Rick Warren to rap artist Shai Linne have been tweeting and re-tweeting the case of Said Musa, a Christian scheduled for execution in Afghanistan because he chose to follow Christ.  It seems as though my friend Denny Burk started the snowball that is now rolling downhill to stop this execution when he urged followers to contact President Barack Obama.

As Paul Marshall points out, President Obama has certainly weighed in on matters much less important in the past, including his official statement of condemnation against a fringe, Florida pastor who merely threatened to burn a Quran.  Surely, the President has an opportunity to stand up for freedom and human dignity, particularly given the fact that Afghanistan professes to be a democratic government and the further fact that the U.S. military and U.S. tax dollars are flowing freely throughout Afghanistan to support this government.

Indeed, the involvement of our money and military in Afghanistan has led many to sound the alarms against our helping this country if they are going to use our aid for the unjust executions of non-Islamic peoples. Mark Krikorian, himself a descendant of Christian refugees from the Middle East, calls attention to our spending billions in Afghanistan to supporting this government which is about to execute a Christian unjustly.  Krikorian quotes the Afghanistan Chief of Staff, who says of Christians like Said Musa, “They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.”  So, in the name of teaching people an Islamic lesson, Said Musa must die?  And what is this valuable life lesson?

Apparently, the lesson is “Don’t even think about freedom of religion.”  Said Musa’s crime was apparently his decision to follow Christ instead of Muhammad.  According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights—a document which Afghanistan signed and ratified—citizens of the country are supposed to have freedom of religion and the right to a fair trial.  Musa got neither.  Instead of freedom of religion, Said Musa is sentenced to be hanged for the crime of getting baptized.

From the standpoint of the International Covenant, Afghanistan is violating its own stated commitments to human freedom.  By my count (at least ostensibly), Musa’s case violates Article 6, Article 7, Article 9, Article 10, Article 12, Article 14, and, especially, Article 18 of their covenant agreement with the nations of the world.  So, why is it that now—when democracy is on the march in the Middle East—this government would pursue such a hypocritical and barbaric course of action against an innocent Christian?

One need look no further than to their neighbors to the south to answer the question.  Government leaders in Afghanistan don’t want to face the charge of hypocrisy; they don’t want to be seen as barbaric by the outside world.  But they also don’t want to die.  About a month ago, a governor in neighboring Pakistan made a statement to the effect that he believed executing converts from Islam to Christianity was inappropriate.  The governor’s bodyguard shot and killed him.  The execution, though an awful blow to democratic ideals in this volatile region, was probably not enough to dissuade leaders from speaking publicly against executing Christians. Yet, what followed has surely had a chilling effect.  According to this news report, about 50,000—yes, 50,000—people took to the streets to celebrate the man who murdered his boss.  They protested loudly against any changes to the current laws against blasphemy in Pakistan.  One would have to be a fool not to notice the signal this sends to leaders of Muslims in this area.  For us, another life lesson is made clear: Not all protesters are seeking democracy.

Understand the pressure that has been put upon the government of Afghanistan.  Surely, they need our prayers, too.  They feel the heat of an Islamic furor that longs for its satisfaction in the execution of Christians and any others who refuse to submit to Allah.  In some ways, I think these leaders are less callous about life than Secretary Clinton and President Obama must be.  President Obama risks nothing by taking a stand for Said Musa.  His life is not in danger, but his voice might just save Said.  The government leaders in Afghanistan, on the other hand, are probably risking their lives by considering a cancellation of the scheduled execution. The seriousness of the situation will make clear what each government thinks of the value of human life and human freedom.

Jesus’s teaching becomes soberly clear in a situation like this:  “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell.”  For Said Musa, the fears are real.  But so is his faith.  He says of his present situation, “My body is theirs to do what they want with. Only God can decide if my spirit goes to hell.”  Whether he lives or dies, Musa surely does not appear headed for the coward’s end (Revelation 21:8).  Faith is giving him clear sight.

If you would like to remember this brother in prison, as though in prison with him, since you yourself are in the body of Christ (Hebrews 13:3), then you will want to pray for Said Musa, that his faith would not fail, that he would not shrink back, and that we would not be silent.

Then, you may want to speak. I have different contact pages below.

Contact Afghanistan embassy in D.C.  http://www.embassyofafghanistan.org/contact.html

Contact US embassy in Afghanistan: http://kabul.usembassy.gov/contact.html

Contact the President at the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

» Pray for Said Musa | Denny Burk


» Pray for Said Musa | Denny Burk.

My good friend Denny Burk has done a great job compiling articles, information, and suggested action concerning Said Musa at his blog, which you can reach by clicking the link above.  Thanks, Denny.

We spoke of and prayed for Said Musa during our service today. I am still trying to get an update on his situation.  I have not yet found anything updating his status. I have prayed for him, of course. Hopefully, you have, too. This is one of the stories that should be covered but isn’t.

The entire world was in an uproar when a single, fringe pastor threatened to burn a Quran. Do you remember that? General Petraus and even President Obama spoke out against the threat of burning a book.  Now, we have a real human atrocity being played out before our very eyes.  A man has been tortured, abused, sexually assaulted in prison, unjustly convicted of the “crime” of converting from Islam to Christ, and, now, is likely to be executed by a judge simply because he chose to not to be a Muslim.  There have been no statements by the President.

Afghanistan says that they allow freedom of religion, but they are about to kill someone for daring to exercise it.  And the world is silent. Leaders are mute.

Contact President Obama and politely urge him to speak up against this violation of human dignity.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact