Said Musa has been freed after serving more than nine months in an Afghan prison on apostasy charges. Just over a week ago, three government officials visited him and told him he would be released within 24 hours if he stated in writing that his conversion to Christianity was regrettable. He replied, “I can’t deny my Savior’s name.” Afterward, he was transferred back to his cell. Nonetheless, he reportedly left the country this past Monday (February 21). Details surrounding his release have been kept confidential in order to protect his wife and children, who are still in danger.
Please continue to pray for Said and his family.
A Twitter campaign has been launched by Christian leaders in order to preserve the life of Said Musa, 45, an Afghan and former Red Cross worker, who has been sentenced to execution for simply converting to Christianity from Islam. The Daily Mail reported on February 7 th that a judge handed down the sentence and informed Musa he would be hanged within days unless he returned to Islam. The campaign on Twitter began with Denny Burk, the Dean of Boyce College, appealing to Mr. Obama to “persuade the Afghan govt. not to execute our brother Said Musa.” Shortly after that, John Piper tweeted a similar message, “Mr. President, speak wisely and boldly, in private if necessary, for Said Musa, imprisoned in Kabul.” Matt Chandler was among over one hundred who re-tweeted a message from Christian Hip Hop artist Shai Linn requesting prayer for Musa. David Platt tweeted, “Let us not be quiet. Pray/Plead for Said Musa…& unknown others who face death for confessing Christ.” Ed Stetzer, in a re-tweeted message, stated, “No man should die b/c he wants to change religion.” Stetzer put in a hash tag for “barackobama” and asked others to re-tweet.
Rick Warren, named one of the Top 20 Twitter celebrities by Forbes, put the spotlight on Musa’s plight and how the secular media has underreported this story. He wrote, “Media CLAIM to champion free speech but if they really did, they’d report these stories everyday.” Saddleback’s pastor also linked a National Review Online article, “America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa.” The article questions why Mr. Obama was so vocal regarding Terry Jones’ threat to burn the Qu’ran, but has been absolutely silent regarding Said Musa’s impending execution. Paul Marshall stated, “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.”
Musa reported that during his incarceration he has been sexually assaulted, beaten, and spit upon for being a Christian. Despite the threat of death, he refused to renounce Christ Jesus. He told a Sunday Times reporter, “My body is theirs to do what they want with. Only God can decide if my spirit goes to hell.” His wife and six children have fled Afghanistan in fear for their lives.
HT: Christian Post
Said Musa, a Christian in Afghanistan, was arrested May 24, 2010. His arrest came shortly following a television broadcast aired which showed Christian worship services and baptisms. Since being imprisoned, Mr. Musa has been interrogated and beaten repeatedly. He has been pressured heavily to disclose details regarding Non-Governmental Organizations and those associated with them. Prior to his arrest, he was employed by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Society for 16 years.
Parliamentarian Abdul Sattar Khawasi advocated the execution of all Christians who had come from a Muslim background and were televised being baptized and praying in Farsi. The Islamist declared, “Those Afghans who appeared in this video film should be executed in public; the house should order the attorney general and the [intelligence agency] to arrest these Afghans and execute them.” Students at Kabul University rioted after viewing the televised reports, shouting death threats and demanding the immediate expulsion of all foreigners accused of proselytizing. The Afghan government suspended all operations by the U.S. based World Church Service and of Norwegian Church Aid.
Please pray for God to open doors for religious liberty in Afghanistan, and for His mercy upon those who have converted recently from Islam to Christianity.
The most severe persecution of Christians is taking place in the following nations:
1. NORTH KOREA
2. SAUDI ARABIA
Christians from South Korea kidnapped by the Taliban reported to the BBC that they were beaten, forced to work as slaves, and ordered at gun point to convert to Islam. Jae Chang-hee told reporters, “We were beaten with a tree branch or kicked around. Some kidnappers threatened us with death at gunpoint to force us to follow them in chanting their Islamic prayer for conversion. I was beaten many times. They pointed a rifle and bayonet at me and tried to force me to convert. . . . We lived like slaves. We had to level the ground for motorbikes, and get water and make a fire.” The BBC reported that Yu Jung-hwa thought she was going to die, stating, “The most difficult moment, when I had a big fear of death, was when the Taliban shot a video. All 23 of us leaned against a wall and armed Taliban aimed their guns at us, and a pit was before me. They said they will save us if we believe in Islam. I almost fainted at the time and I still cannot look at cameras.” Han Ji-young, remembering when Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu was led away to his death, voiced tearfully, “Bae didn’t even look at us when he was leaving the room. He only said, ‘Overcome with faith.’”
Please pray for God’s mercy and healing for these Korean believers and for the families of those who were killed for their faith in Christ. Pray for the Taliban members who witnessed the faith of these believers in the face of death.
This morning during daybreak in Afghanistan, police discovered the body of the second South Korean Christian hostage murdered in cold-blood by Taliban terrorists. The South Korean Foreign Ministry confirmed that the body was that of 29-year-old Shim Sung-min. Shim Sung-min was a former information technology worker who was volunteering with a South Korean Presbyterian church group on an aid mission to Afghanistan.
Twenty-one of the Christian volunteers from South Korea still remain hostage. The Taliban commanders have set a new deadline for trading hostages for imprisoned terrorists. Qari Yousef Ahmadi declared, “If the Kabul government does not release the Taliban prisoners, then we will kill after 12:00 – we are going to kill Korean hostages. It might be a man or a woman… It might be one. It might be two, four. It might be all of them.”
Relatives of the hostages have gathered at Saemmul Community Church in Bundang, just outside of Seoul, praying together and awaiting news of their loved ones.
Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who dared to enter Afghanistan in the name of Christ to serve others. Pray for their faith to be strengthened, for their compassion for their captors to be deepened, and for their release. Pray for their families – both their relatives and their church family in Bundang. Pray that the Lord will use this difficult event for the sake of His Kingdom.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
- 1 Peter 4:1-2
It has been reported that terrorists killed a second South Korean hostage today (Monday, July 30, 2007). Terrorist spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said senior Taliban leaders decided to murder the male captive because the Afghan government had not yet met their demands to trade prisoners for the Christian volunteers. Yesterday (Sunday, July 29), Afghan President Karzai and other state officials appealed for the release of the female captives by appealing to a tradition of cultural hospitality and called the kidnapping of women “unIslamic.” The Christian volunteers are members of a South Korean Presbyterian church and were led to Afghanistan by Pastor Bae Hyun-kyu, who was martyred last week by the Taliban.
Afghanistan is one of the least reached nations in the world, with over 70 unreached people groups, fifty spoken languages, 48,000 mosques, and no church buildings. Only two of the language groups have a New Testament.
Afghanistan held its first democratic elections in October 2004, with Hamad Karzai being selected to lead the nation. A year later, in October 2005, a parliamentary election was held. These elections brought a sense of hope to the Afghans, who had known a great deal of war and violence since the Soviet invasion during December 1979. Public persecution of Christians by the government disappeared with the Taliban, but Christians are still not free to practice their faith openly without facing persecution from Muslims.