Accessibility links

Afghan Christian Convert Released --> Abdul Rahman on March 23 (AFP) March 28, 2006 -- Afghan Justice Minister Mohammad Sarwar Danish says the man who could have faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has been released from jail.

Danish said Abdul Rahman was released from the prison in Kabul late on March 27 after the charges against him of apostasy was dropped.

Earlier, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said U.S. officials believed that Rahman would be released and allowed to seek asylum outside Afghanistan.

Afghan authorities have said they were assessing Rahman's mental health after a court dropped the case against him.

Some religious conservatives in Afghanistan demanded that Rahman be put on trial and given a death sentence for apostasy under Islamic Shari'a law.

Islam In A Pluralistic World

A Muslim woman (left) watches a Christian procession in Madrid in March (AFP)


CONFERENCE ON ISLAM: A major international conference on Islam concluded in Vienna in November 2005 with strong appeals from prominent Muslim leaders to recognize international terrorism as simply "terrorism." Political figures from Islamic countries, including the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that it should never be labeled "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism because Islam is based on peace, dialogue, and tolerance. "Salaam" -- meaning "peace" -- was the key word of the three-day conference, titled "ISLAM IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD."
Iraqi President Jalal Talibani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the word in their remarks to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam. Other speakers quoted passages from the Koran to the effect that all men and women, regardless of faith, are creatures of God and should live in peace with each other without discrimination...(more)


Listen to Afghan President HAMID KARZAI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media


Listen to UN special envoy LAKHDAR BRAHIMI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view a thematic webpage devoted to issues of religious tolerance in RFE/RL's broadcast region and around the globe.