Abdul Rahman ups Pressure against Afghan and US Governments in Christian Convert Case

Washington, DC (APE) – Afghan Christian convert Abdul Rahman, currently facing possible execution for his conversion from Islam, significantly upped the ante today by threatening to reveal what he called “highly placed” Christian converts within the fledgling Afghan government. Prosecutors in the case have stated that they now have begun to doubt the claims of Rahman’s insanity and are promising a full investigation.

When asked for specifics by Western reporters, Rahman, who has never denied his loyalty to Christianity, implicated none other than the new president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. In an exclusive interview with CBS reporter Ed Murrow, Rahman claims to have participated in outlawed communion services with Karzai and other high-ranking government officials. “I have most certainly broken bread with him,” stated Rahman. “We have also shared the fruit of the vine together.” Alcohol consumption is considered a severe violation of sharia law.

Karzai, who had previously pledged to the United States that he would spare Rahman from execution, has since stated that this may not be feasible and has formally stated that he is now on the side of Afghan officials who were formerly doubting Rahman’s sanity. Mental illness under the current Afghanistan government apparently would preclude further punishment or execution, contrasted with the government of the United States.

The Afghan internal security service has promised a full response and investigation into Abdul Rahman’s claims. They announced the formation of a special investigative committee within the Afghan legislature, which will initiate an investigation of all accused Christian converts in Afghanistan. A special Islamic loyalty oath has been drafted and will be voted upon by the legislature. It is expected to pass unanimously, with some minor modifications, and will then in turn be a requirement for government service or employment.

The Bush administration has come under criticism from its Christian conservative base for its slow response in outlining its stance on the persecution of Rahman. “It is deeply disturbing that actions such as these have not taken place right here in America, in the name of Christianity,” said a spokesperson for influential Christian evangelist Pat Robertson.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently discussed the situation in a phone conversation with Karzai. While she would not disclose details of the conversation, she praised the Afghan President and his government for their quick action in preserving domestic security. “We have praised it at the highest levels… and we have praised it in the strongest possible terms,” Rice told reporters after the call.” We look forward hopefully to a resolution of this in the very near future.”