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Standing With Abdul Rahman - a Challenge to NZ

MEDIA RELEASE
27 March 2006


Don’t Forget Him Now: Standing With Abdul Rahman - a Challenge to New Zealand Christians

Abdul Rahman, the 41-year-old convert from Islam to Christianity, who had been threatened with a death sentence for apostasy, is to be released by the Afghan authorities. However, unless the shari‘a’s ruling on apostasy is challenged those leaving Islam will continue to be persecuted.

All four schools of Sunni Islamic law, as well as Shi‘a Islamic law, agree that the penalty for a sane adult male who leaves Islam is death. The sanctioning of murder in this way makes Islam unique among world faiths.

A number of Muslim voices have been raised around the world in the last few days saying that Islam does not really teach that apostates should be executed. The argument usually is that (1) what the Qur’an says about apostasy is ambiguous and (2) what the hadith [traditions] record of Muhammad’s words and example on this subject should never have been universalised but were only applicable for particular contexts in which the apostates were also traitors to the Islamic state. This reasoning has long been held by a minority of liberal Muslims, but has never yet managed to make any impact on the official teachings of shari‘a, formulated in the Middle Ages.

The appalling silence of world Christian leaders, in particular Protestant leaders, on Abdul Rahman’s case is a matter of shame. The Pope has spoken out, but what of the World Council of Churches, the Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, evangelicals, Pentecostals and others?

The apostasy law must not be swept back under the carpet.

Barnabas Fund’s campaign “The Right to Justice” has been initiated to seek to bring an end to injustice such as Abdul Rahman and many other Christians are suffering. There is no place in the modern world for such barbaric treatment of Muslims who choose another faith www.rightotjustice.org

New Zealand director, Julian Dobbs says, “Christians are queuing in New Zealand churches to sign the petition. New Zealand Christians want to help to do something to alleviate the terrible suffering of Christian minorities around the world.”

ENDS

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