The case of Abdul Rahman, an Afghan Muslim who converted to Christianity while living abroad and could face the death penalty in his homeland for rejecting Islam, has caused unease among states involved in peacekeeping in Afghanistan. Here are some reactions:
US UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE NICHOLAS BURNS
We believe in universal freedoms and freedom of religion is one
of them. But I should also note more particularly, as regards this
case, that the Afghan constitution as we understand it also provides
for freedom of religion... If it is upheld, he will be found to be innocent.
GERMAN DEVELOPMENT MINISTER HEIDEMARIE WIECZOREK-ZEUL
We will do everything possible to save the life of Abdul Rahman. Religious freedom is everybody's right. In this regard I also call on [Afghan] President [Hamid] Karzai.
GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADER CARDINAL KARL LEHMANN
German bishops will try to ensure Christians in Islamic countries enjoy the same rights as Muslims have in our country.
ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT
If this news is confirmed, Italy will move at the highest level... to prevent something which is incompatible with the defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
FORMER ITALIAN PRESIDENT FRANCESCO COSSIGA
It is not acceptable that our soldiers should put themselves at risk or even sacrifice their lives for a
fundamentalist, illiberal regime.
UK RULING LABOUR PARTY MP ALAN SIMPSON
We have to be saying to the government of Afghanistan that it is not the role, the function or the presumption of the UK government to have a presence in Afghanistan to defend an administration that conducts and complies with laws that are brutal in terms that would be judged by the outside international community, and would not be accepted by the Muslim community if they were used in reverse.
AFGHAN PROSECUTOR ABDUL WASI
He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one. We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty.
AFGHAN SUPREME COURT JUDGE ANSARULLAH MAWLAVIZADA
If he doesn't revert back to Islam, he's going to receive the death penalty, according to the law.
AFGHAN ECONOMY MINISTER AMIN FARHANG
The heated and emotional reaction of German politicians is exaggerated and
has caused annoyance among Afghans... Of course fanatics demand the death penalty in such
cases, but it is very unlikely that it will be imposed on