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Friday, February 18, 2011

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

Please consider calling your elected representatives in Washington, DC (main Capitol Hill switchboard number is 202-224-3121) and also the White House (202-456-1414) and State Department (202-647-4000) to call on the Administration to do all that is possible to defend the life of Said Musa.

America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa

A terrible drama is unfolding in Afghanistan: There are reports that Said Musa, whose situation I described at Christmas, will soon be executed for the ‘crime’ of choosing to become a Christian. (For background, see here.)

Musa was one of about 25 Christians arrested on May 31, 2010, after a May 27 Noorin TV program showed video of a worship service held by indigenous Afghan Christians; he was arrested as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy. He converted to Christianity eight years ago, is the father of six young children, had a leg amputated after he stepped on a landmine while serving in the Afghan Army, and now has a prosthetic leg. His oldest child is eight and one is disabled (she cannot speak). He worked for the Red Cross/Red Crescent as an adviser to other amputees.

He was forced to appear before a judge without any legal counsel and without knowledge of the charges against him. “Nobody [wanted to be my] defender before the court. When I said ‘I am a Christian man,’ he [a potential lawyer] immediately spat on me and abused me and mocked me. . . . I am alone between 400 [people with] terrible values in the jail, like a sheep.” He has been beaten, mocked, and subjected to sleep deprivation and sexual abuse while in prison. No Afghan lawyer will defend him and authorities denied him access to a foreign lawyer.

Any and every human being who is imprisoned, abused, or tortured for the free and peaceful expression of their faith deserves our support, but Musa is also a remarkable person and Christian. In a letter smuggled to the West, he says, “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.”

He added a thing much more important to him, that they “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 the full letter here)

He has not, in fact, even appealed to be released, only to be transferred to another prison. He has also stated that he is willing to give his life for his faith. “Please, please you should transfer me from this jail to a jail that supervises the believers. . . . I also agree . . . to sacrifice my life in public [where] I will tell [about my] faith in Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, [so] other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith.”

Newspapers in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe have reported the story, but with, the exception of the Wall Street Journal and, of course, NRO, American outlets have not found it worthy of attention. The Journal reports that “Afghan officials have been unapologetic: ‘The sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception,’ said Jamal Khan, chief of staff at the Ministry of Justice. ‘They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.’”

The U.S. government — reportedly including Secretary of State Clinton — and other governments have pushed for his release, but to no avail.

But the president has been silent, even as we fight a war that has among its goals the creation of a government that conforms to international human-rights standards.

An American president certainly needs to guard and shepherd his political capital, and should not speak out about every prisoner. But Musa himself has appealed to “President Brother Obama” to rescue him from his current jail. And when an obscure and aberrant Florida pastor, Terry Jones, threatened to burn a Koran, not only President Obama but much of his cabinet, as well as General Petraeus, weighed in on the matter.

If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.

Paul Marshall is the co-author, with Nina Shea, of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in October 2011.

Comments posted:

Randy Shackleford

02/18/11 14:16

Did he not realize that becoming a Christian where he lived was a capitol offense? I mean, really, he was a Muslim for christs sake, how could anyone be surprised? It's like trying to build a mosque in downtown New York, didn't anyone think that would be controversial? Cheese and rice people, this is a story of idiocy run rampant. Sorry for the guy but he should have know what to expect. Anyone willing to die for a religion is a nut case.


02/18/11 11:27

His death would be on Obama's head. Quiet, behind the scenes pressure should be put on these authorities.

Otherwise, why are we even there?


02/18/11 10:20

Jamal Khan must be made to leave the government. The US cannot continue to fund government officials who are loathsome barbarians.

The awful thing is that somehow these "religious" people think that someone converting to another faith gives them an excuse to engage in behavior that is supposedly prohibited by their own faith. This is true hypocrisy.

They are also cowards. They cannot win the heart of this man, who has chosen to follow Christ, so they will try to kill him instead. They do not have the courage of their own faith, to believe that it can win out. That is why they resort to murder.

But it is God who will answer, in the end.


02/18/11 10:20

I have ceased to think of Islam as essentially a religion. While it has some characteristics of that nature, they are not its defining feature. It's most salient feature is its militant imperialism. You will understand Islam better if you think of it the same was you think of Napoleonic France or Marxist Russia.


02/18/11 09:30

The silence in the press and in the government to the Christians being executed right under our noses in places like Afghanistan and Iraq where we have boots on the ground is an intolerable code of diplomatic silence.

It doesn't fit their narrative about what we are doing in those nations. I am a supporter of what we are doing and have gone in intending to do in those nations and it does not cut into my support to know that Christians are being violated and executed there. I knew that.

What cuts into my support is we are not raising bloody hell about it but just pretending it is not happening and hoping the American public will not notice if nothing is said or printed. Disgusting jerks! (and I'm talking about our people who know and say nothing)

Steve Koch

02/18/11 09:13

And we are supposed to do what? It is a Muslim country so they run it according to Sharia. Yeah, Islam is barbaric, what else is new. Maybe if some missionary had not converted this poor guy, he would be getting executed.

The big question is how do we civilize these people before they ruin the world. I don't know but no idea is too radical for discussion.

Patrick J

02/18/11 09:00

This is a horrible story, but isn't it exactly the sort of thing that toppling the Taliban was supposed to end? We have a puppet government in a client state that we're propping up - and they do something like this. In other words, business as usual in the Middle East / SW Asia.

I'm not saying that staying the heck out of it would have saved Mr. Musa, but clearly Bush's exercise in nation building has done nothing to prevent it. Don't scapegoat Obama here. This wasn't his excellent adventure.

We either need to get serious about Middle Eastern nation building, or get out of the business altogether. Half measures are always worse than full ones, or none at all. Bush's instinct for Solomonic compromises (as when he quite literally split the baby in his obscene embryonic stem cell funding approval, or when he signed McCain-Feingold into law even as he grumbled that he thought it was unconstitutional) has failed us time and time again. We need to treat radical violent iterations of Islam the way we treated similarly disfunctional ideologies in Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan - smash it to pieces and rebuild from a Western perspective.

*OR ELSE* – if we now lack the confidence in our own traditions and system to be willing to inflict themon others forcibly – we need to just get out and stay out. One or the other. I prefer "the other" here, but I have some sympathy who zealously prefer the first option. I have however nothing but contempt for those who dabble their toes into the water while fearing to get all the way wet.


02/18/11 08:47

I no longer think it as improbable as I once did, (not to underscore some supreme achievement) the likelihood of the unlikely measures taken to detach from the Gospel of Christ a spectrum of ruling bodies by a spectrum of subservient ideologies by one very tangible entity, a:


This author makes no claim to any coincidental resemblances to any religious sects that spends about 98% of the time getting the job done with no.1, to cover the acts of no. 2, while no.3 acts as beneficiary.


02/18/11 08:33

When things seem inconsistent or 'ironic' on the surface, you have to look for the real consistency. In this case it's obvious: Under Bushobama our established religion is Islam. Heresy against Mohammed is punished here just as in Arabia or Afghanistan, while heresy against Christ is required here just as in Arabia or Afghanistan.


02/18/11 08:20

Sadly, this will most likely occur with little notice across this Country. I am certainly no pacifist, but this should be the tipping point for further action in that God-forsaken country. These people enjoy living in the stone age. Maybe it is time to leave them to their own devices.
If this were to be picked up by the MSM, I'm not sure how they will spin it, but I am positive they will to show how we are culturally insensitve to this religion of peace they call Islam. Time to pack our bags and get out.


02/18/11 08:10

And these are just the wages of Islam.


02/18/11 08:05

I'm at a loss. As per Bush and Obama, Islam means peace, and is a wonderful tolerant religion filled with brotherly singers of "Kumbaya" who love and respect their fellow man, when not busily finding new mathematical formulae(though Pythagreas learned from Egyptians a millenium before Mohammed, but why intrude on Obama's racial cheerleading stupidity with actual facts?).

We have no business propping up these insane people and their criminal governments as long as they continue to practice the 7th century death cult.Parenthetically at a loss why we're there at all, but I digress. Islam insane barbaric nonsense, and we have to start shouting it from the rooftops. As always, tolerance in Islam is a one way street. I'll pray for Mr. Musa, and have a world of respect for such a brave Christian facing such an awful despotic regime.


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