Afghan parliamentarian calls for execution of Christians

An Afghan parliamentary secretary has called for the public execution of Christian converts from the parliament floor, according to International Christian Concern.

On Tuesday, the Associated Free Press reported that Abdul Sattar Khawasi, deputy secretary of the Afghan lower house in parliament, called for the execution of Christian converts from Islam.

Speaking in regards to a video broadcast by the Afghan television network Noorin TV showing footage of Christian men being baptized and praying in Farsi, Khawasi said, "Those Afghans that appeared in this video film should be executed in public. The house should order the attorney general and the NDS (intelligence agency) to arrest these Afghans and execute them."

An ICC spokesperson told ASSIST News Service that the broadcast triggered a protest by hundreds of Kabul University students on Monday, who shouted death threats and demanded the expulsion of Christian foreigners accused of proselytising.

As a result, the operations of Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and US-based Church World Service (CWS) have been suspended over allegations of proselytising.

The ICC spokesperson said the Afghan government was currently undertaking an intensive investigation into the matter.

"According to Afghan law, proselytising is illegal and conversion from Islam is punishable by death," the spokesperson said.

ICC sources within Afghanistan have reported that many national Christians are in hiding, fearful of execution. Under government pressure during investigations, some Afghans have reportedly revealed names and locations of Christian converts.

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, "It is absolutely appalling that the execution of Christians would be promoted on the floor of the Afghan parliament.

"Khawasi's statement sounded a whole lot like the tyrannical manifesto of the Taliban not that of a US ally. American lives are being lost fighting terrorism and defending freedom in Afghanistan - yet Christians are being oppressed within Afghan borders.

"This comes after billions of US dollars have been invested in the war effort, and millions more have been given in aid. The US government must intervene to protect the religious freedoms and human rights of all Afghans. The US is not a mere outside bystander - but, is closely intertwined within Afghan policy."

Clay added, "Intervention is not a choice, but a responsibility, as Afghan policies reflect the US government's ability and commitment to secure a stable government in Afghanistan."

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