Thursday, March 23, 2006

Appeal on Behalf of A. Rahman

General John P. Abizaid, Commander
U.S. Central Command
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill, AFB, FL 33621-5101
Fax: (813) 827-2211

24 March 2006

General Abizaid:

The religious and human rights community are greatly alarmed by the trial and threatened execution of Abdur Rahman, an Afghan citizen arrested last month and charged with apostasy. The case reveals serious defects in the judiciary of the reconstructed Afghanistan government that threatens the new-found freedoms of Afghani citizens and the support of the American people.

The U.S. government has much invested in seeing that democratic institutions that promote universal human rights develop successfully in Afghanistan. The president of the United States should do all in his power to encourage the Afghan government to dismiss the charges against Mr. Rahman and to promote religious freedom and universal human rights at every level of Afghan society.

We are writing to you on humanitarian grounds as the commander of the theater of operations for US and Coalition forces in Afghanistan. We request that you direct a military Christian chaplain to visit Mr. Rahman in the Kabul prison where he is presently incarcerated and to report back to you concerning his treatment, nourishment, and access to spiritual and legal counsel. Please insure that Mr. Rahman and other Christian prisoners are provided with a Bible, cross, and are afforded the opportunity to worship on Sundays during incarceration. If there are any irregularities in regards to the provision of basic humanitarian and spiritual needs, we respectfully ask you to direct this to the attention of the President of the United States so that he may intercede with President Karzai.

While we are hopeful that there will be a successful political resolution to this incident, we are concerned that in the duration of that process Mr. Rahman and other Christian prisoners be afforded humane treatment and security. Your positive response to this request will help to insure that indeed is the case.

Please feel free to circulate to potential signatories. E-mail by 11 am on Friday, March 24 and include Name, Title and Organization (if any)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thugs of the Egyptian regime prepare to attack a historical Coptic Monastery

The 4th century Monastery of Apa Bane "St Vennie" (Deir Abu Fana, or the Monastery of the Cross) in Mallawi, Upper Egypt
On Sunday, March 19th, 2006 Generl Said Uthman Ismael, president of Mallawi city council, in the province of El Minia , Upper Egypt , gave 5 days ultimatum to Bishop Dimetrious of Mallawi to demolish the guest house located in the Apa Fana monastery or else face demolition by Egyptian security forces.

The monastery dates back to the 4th century and considered by historians and archeologists to be among the first to exist worldwide when Christian monasticism flourished out of the Egyptian desert.
The ancient sources such as the History of the Egyptian Monks (Historia Monachorum in Aegypto), Sayings of the Fathers (Apophtegnmata Patrum), Palladius' Lausiac History (Historia Lausiaca), Sozomen's Church Hisotory (Historia Ecclesiastica), and others make reference to a man named Benus or Banus (Bes) who lived near Deir Abu Fana and can be identified as none other than Apa Bane

In 1992, Apa Bane's remains were discovered in a tomb located beneath the nave floor of the funerary church of the monastery, along with other abbots

Coptic youth reacted to the threats of general Ismael by staging a sit in strike inside the monastery to confront the Egyptian security forces and defend the historical monastery against the Egyptian government thugs who seem to have nothing to do lately but harass the Coptic churches and places of worship.

Updates will follow

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Taliban are in control once again

Freedom of Worship in Islam

Christian convert faces death in Afghanistan
19/03/2006 21:29 - (SA)
Kabul - An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death after being charged with converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic shariah laws, a judge said on Sunday.

The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan and highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists about what shape Islam will take here four years after the ousting of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime.

The defendant, Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, said Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada.

Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam and his trial started last Thursday.
During the one-day hearing, the defendant allegedly confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical-aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Mawlavezada said.

'An attack on Islam'
The judge said in an interview: "We are not against any particular religion in the world.
"But, in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law. It is an attack on Islam."

Mawlavezada said he would rule on the case within two months.

Afghanistan's constitution is based on shariah law, which states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chair of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused.

"He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one," said Wasi.

"We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."