Case against a Christian in Afghanistan dismissed

By March 28, 2006

Afghanistan (MNN) — Several hundred people rallied in Afghanistan yesterday against a court decision to dismiss an apostasy case in the country. 41-year-old Abdul Rahman was charged with apostasy after he converted from Islam to Christianity.

The protesters chanted “Death to Bush!” and other anti-Western slogans, and warned the international community to back off. Authorities say the protest in Mazar-i-Sharif ended peacefully about two hours after it started.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton has been watching the case closely. He tells MNN why the case was dismissed. “The courts have said the evidence is not good and they are going to set him free. The challenge now becomes protecting his life after many in Afghanistan have called for him to be killed regardless of what the court ruled.”

The court also says Rahman is mentally unfit to face trial. The dismissal pleases western nations, while the mental question may pacify hard-line Muslims.

According to Nettleton, this doesn’t answer the long-term religious freedom issue. “The question, really, long term is how is Afghanistan going to treat Christians? Are they going to recognize the possibility that an Afghan can be a follower of Jesus Christ, or aren’t they? And, that’s the question that, because of the way this case has gone, hasn’t been answered.”

The court decision followed mounting pressure and criticism from Western governments, which have troops serving in Afghanistan and provide crucial foreign aid to the impoverished country.

While Nettleton is asking Christians to pray for Rahman’s safety, he’s also asking people to pray for his witness. “This has been an incredible thing in Afghanistan to have a man on national TV testify, ‘I am a believer in Jesus Christ, I believe in the New Testament.’ That’s an amazing thing to have that be on national TV in Afghanistan and that’s going to create some opportunities to witness and follow up on that. So, I think that we can pray that this will be the beginning of revival in Afghanistan.”

This event will have many Muslims asking westerners questions and it could really help one-on-one evangelism, says Nettleton. “They are not offended or afraid of those kind of one-on-one discussions where I ask questions and then you ask questions and we kind of share our beliefs. Those types of discussions are very common in the Muslim world.”

Voice of the Martyrs is in the process of distributing a Gospel story book called, He Lived Among Us, which looks like a comic book. “It tells the story of Jesus. It also shows, in pictures, His life on earth. That’s one of the things we’re distributing in the Dari language, which is one of the languages in Afghanistan.”

Funding for the project can be contributed on their website. Click on the link below to get connected. You can also call 1-800-75VOICE.

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