Letter to Harper - Afghanistan
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
I am a Canadian citizen concerned about human rights abuses in Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan is difficult for Christians who suffer from Afghanistan's government and the Taliban insurgency.
Shoaib Assadullah was arrested on October 21, 2010, after he gave a Bible to another man. Assadullah is a convert from Islam to Christian faith. On January 3, 2011, he was told by a judge that he had one week to renounce Jesus Christ or he would face up to twenty years in jail or, possibly, the death sentence. Assadullah said; “Tell all my brothers and sisters, especially my Afghan brothers and sisters, that my faith is strong.” 1 Because of international pressure, he has been released and has found asylum in a friendly nation.
Abdul Rahman and Said Musa are both converts from Islam to Christianity. Both were arrested, Rahman in 2006, and Musa in 2010. They received mistreatment but, after international pressure, both were released. Musa, in prison, endured beatings as well as sexual abuse.
On May 31, 2010, the Afghanistan suspended the work of two Christian relief organizations. The relief organizations were believed to have been converting Afghans to Christianity. Some photographs were released that apparently show Afghans being baptised by westerners in a private meeting and this was shown in vidio form on television. The television station Noorin said that there was no evidence linking the Christian relief organization to these photographs.A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Economy told the New York Times that there was no evidence against the Christian relief organization. According to the Associated Press, the deputy secretary of the Afghan parliament has requested the execution of these baptised Afghan Christians. The deputy has said; “Those Afghans that appeared on this vidio film should be executed in public. The house should order the attorney general and the National Department of Security to arrest these Afghans and execute them.” 2
Canada has been heavily involved in the United Nations mandated and NATO- led operations in Afghanistan. Canadian forces have aided Afghan national security forces in establishing some law and order in the region. They have also contributed to health, education and economic growth in Afghanistan. They have contributed humanitarian assistance and work together with Afghan and Pakistani autorities towards improving border security. Much good has been accomplished, however, Canada needs to use the influence that it has in Afghanistan to press harder for religious freedom. Most specifically, reforms need to be made to the Afghan legal system so that Christians are not prosecuted for simply following their faith. Christian believers must be given the freedom to follow Jesus Christ whether or not they were, at one time, Muslims.
Respectfully and sincerely,
Shawn and Ramona Stevens
cc: M. P. John Baird
1. AFGHANISTAN : AWAITING COURT DECISCION (Posted Feb. 10,2011) persecution.com.
2. "Afghanistan a Voice to be Heard." www.emconference.ca.