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