Said Musa – RELEASED

UPDATE: Said Musa Released from Prison!

An Afghan Christian named Said Musa, imprisoned without formal charges for his faith in Jesus Christ and facing death for apostasy, was released from prison last week after aggressive international diplomacy engaged Afghanistan’s government.  Your prayers, signatures, and calls to speak up for Said all contributed to his release. Thank you and please continue to pray for all our imprisoned brothers and sisters – especially for Shoiab, another Afghan Christian who is still imprisoned.

 

Name: Said Musa (commonly spelled Sayed Mossa)
Age: 45
Arrested: May 31, 2010
Prison: Kabul Detention Center in the Governor’s Compound
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
Charges: Mossa has not been formally charged, but was notified that he will be tried for apostasy – conversion from Islam to Christianity.

Said’s Story: Said Musa worked 15 years with the Red Cross in the orthopedic department largely treating victims of landmines. Said is an amputee with a prosthetic leg, having stepped on a landmine himself while serving with the Afghan Army. As a Red Cross employee, he offered therapy to handicapped children and was greatly respected by the community. “He took care with compassion and great professionalism of the amputee or handicap children we used to bring him,” said a westerner who knew him.

In addition to Said’s reputation as a compassionate caretaker, word spread in the community that he was also a covert to Christianity. On May 31, after taking a lunch break with patients, Said was rounded-up by security officers working with the Ministry of Interior. Said’s arrest was the first in what became a nationwide crackdown against Christians.

It began in late-May when Ahmad Shah, reportedly an informant wishing to expose and endanger Christians in Afghanistan, obtained footage of Muslim converts to Christianity being baptized and participating in prayer gatherings. The footage was broadcast nationally on Noorin TV, and led to protests throughout the country. So enraged were some Islamic fundamentalist groups that parliamentarian Abdul Sattar Khawasi called for the execution of Afghan Christians on the parliament floor. President Karzai was ‘personally interested’ in the matter and summoned the interior minister and the head of country’s intelligence agency to investigate Christian organizations suspected of proselytizing. Two NGOs were suspended and 14 were put on a list to be investigated. And, after Said’s arrest, the national church dispersed, some going into hiding until the situation calmed. Others fled the country completely.

All the while, Said remained firm in his faith. In a recent letter, dated December 1, Said proclaimed from his prison cell, “I am the most sinful man but the blood of the Son of God now cleared me. I am now called a Son of God. What a great joy and hope and happiness for me. I request of yours – please be endure persecution patiently and remain firm to the end, obeying His commands and trusting in Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Through diplomacy, Said has been transferred to a safer prison where he is no longer suffering from daily beatings, sexual abuse and sleep deprivation, as he described in his first letter. However, there is no evidence that Said’s release will occur anytime soon.

Said, a husband and father of six children, has now been in prison for more than six months without being formally charged or offered legal representation. Said has been told that he will be tried for apostasy, a ‘crime’ not addressed in Afghanistan’s penal code. In such a case, Afghan law permits the judge the right to reference Sharia (Islamic) law to reach a verdict, which may likely mean the death penalty for Said.

Afghan lawyers asked to defend Said have refused, saying they will not take the case unless he is willing to return to Islam. And, an Advocates International lawyer who arrived in Kabul to represent Said was also denied, and told that Afghan law only permits legal representation in court by fellow citizens.

After three previous court postponements of Said’s case, we are uncertain when he will be sanctioned to court again. The judge recently denied foreigners the right to visit Said in prison which has handicapped their ability to know when the trial will be held. However, through sources on the ground, ICC is closely monitoring the situation and will be notified once the trial recommences.

Follow Said’s Case

Leading up to that important date, ICC will be your one stop source for all the latest information on Said’s case. We will begin by posting – in full – all of Said’s letters. Said himself asked that we share his letters so that the church – upon hearing of the perseverance of the saints – may be encouraged and led to prayer. These epistles, inscribed in a hollowed prison chamber, testify to the Light which overcomes darkness and offers hope to the destitute and downtrodden. May these letters sanctify the church by empowering our own witness and mobilizing prayer not only for Said, but for all Afghan believers and their right to worship freely.

Awareness alone will likely not accomplish our objectives. We must also take action! While ICC has long been engaged in advocacy for Said with top U.S. government officials, we are now undertaking a large petition campaign. The petition, addressed to U.S. officials who have the ability to apply pressure on the Afghan government, will urge for the release of Said Musa and Shoib Assadullah, another Christian imprisoned in northern Afghanistan. Please help us acquire 50,000 signatures by signing our petition and by forwarding it to your friends. This is a call to action! May the church offer refuge for suffering Afghan Christians by providing the support and assistance they need. Let us amplify Said’s voice and put an end to anti-Christian injustice in Afghanistan!

Said’s Letters

First LetterClick Here to View

Addressed: To the international church, President Barack Obama and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Location: Oullayat Prison in Kabul
Date: July 30, 2010 (the letter was not received until October)
Content:

  • Pleads for international intervention and to be transferred to a safer prison
  • Explains the brutality of his imprisonment, also describing how Afghan judicial officials have refused to protect him and even encouraged the abuse from fellow prisoners.
  • Finds solace in the Lord, stating that despite his suffering, he will not deny his faith in Christ.

Second Letter Click Here to View
Afghan? Click Here to view a Dari translation of Said’s second letter.

Addressed: To brothers and sisters in Christ
Location: Kabul Detention Center in the Governor’s Compound
Date: November 23, 2010
Content:

  • Warns against Ahmad Shah, a wolf in sheep’s clothing who delivered video footage of Afghans being baptized to Noorin TV to expose and endanger Christian Afghans.
  • Asks Christians to “pray” and to “not give-up.”
  • Takes comfort in the Holy Spirit, prays that the Savior may come soon, and rejoices that someday every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord.

Third Letter – Click Here to View
Afghan? Click here to view a Dari translation of Said’s third letter.

Addressed: To dear friends in Kabul
Location: Kabul Detention Center in the Governor’s Compound
Date: November 27, 2010
Content:

  • Writes about his day in court and that his file was rejected by the judge
  • Explains why he denied Islam and converted to Christianity
  • Proclaims that he is ready to suffer, and even die, for his faith for the sake of his Savior
  • Affirms that he never once renounced Christ throughout his imprisonment and beatings

Fourth Letter – Click Here to View
Afghan? Click here to view a Dari translation of Said’s fourth letter.

Addressed: Brothers and sisters in faith
Location: Kabul Detention Center in the Governor’s Compound
Date: December 1, 2010
Content:

  • Rejoices in his sufferings for the Lord, and refers to those who were persecuted for their faith in Hebrews 11
  • Describes himself as a sinful man who was redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ
  • Requests all believers to endure persecution patiently, remain firm until the end, and to obey and trust in the Lord Jesus
  • Challenges believers to bear fruit by proclaiming the Gospel
  • Asks Christians around the world to not give up praying for him and his fellow persecuted brothers and sisters
  • Discusses his desire to build the Lord’s church in Afghanistan
  • Remembers the promises of victory to soldiers of the Lord who shine the light of Christ throughout the world, according to the Scriptures
  • Reminds believers that the Lord is with them and there is no reason for fear
  • Expresses his desire to have a public court hearing to be able to introduce the love of Jesus to all Afghans
  • Proclaims, “I have in my heart a fire of Good News. It should be announced to the people. It’s our mission in the world.”

Fifth Letter (a prayer)Click Here to View

Addressed: Sisters and brothers in Christ
Location: Kabul Detention Center in the Governor’s Compound
Date: December 11, 2010
Content:

  • Describes a vision of Christ calling him to announce the Gospel in Afghanistan: “I saw in vision during the sleep in one night. I have saw the heaven opened, saw a person, his cloths like snow, its dazzling light his face lighting. He’s coming to me and put his hand on my shoulder and on my head told me please he happy I am always with you in this jail. I chose you and you should announce my good news to the people of Afghanistan and all over the world. On that movement I was shaking and trembling with fear. I fell down and could not stand on my feet. He took my hands and I woke up.”
  • Pleads for the Lord to rebuild His church and to save the people of Afghanistan.
  • Prays that the hungry would be fed and that the war would end.
  • Shares with fellow Afghans that Jesus Christ alone offers eternal life, and that they must open their eyes in order to receive it.
  • Rejoices in the promises of Christ who alone is just and has all authority over heaven and earth.
  • Writes about the Iranian spy who was the reason for his arrest and continues to spread lies against him to fellow prisoners and security guards.
  • Describes the joy he has found in Christ even amidst great suffering
  • Asks for all believers to not stop praying, for victory is theirs through Christ.
  • Tells believers not to worry about him, because Christ is always with him.
  • Prays that believers around the world would be filled with the Holy Spirit, continue to share the Good News, and that the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ will always be with them.

Sixth LetterClick Here to View

Addressed: To lovely brothers and sisters in faith
Location: Kabul Province Jail
Date: December 16, 2010
Content: Describes sharing Christ with a member of the Taliban in his jail cell.

“I want to tell you. A person whose accused of murder, he’s sleeping in front of me in the corridor of jail. He’s a hundred percent extremist and has discrimination with my religion. He’s a Talib person. One night he wants to suicide himself… I prayed for him more and more. I told him please be patient… Please believe in Jesus Christ, he’s the only person to forgive you and save you and release you from this jail… The first time he began screaming and insulting me. He told me you’re not clean, you’re not a Muslim. But I told him, oh my friend and brother. Please think about my word… Then I prayed for him since the middle night. He woke up from sleep and sit on his place. All the prisoners were in sleep. He came near my bed and sat and told me. Please forgive me brother. You’re really true person. I have seen wonderful dreams. A very light person spoke with me. He was an amazing person. I fell down on my knee and to the ground. He told me, please believe in your friend Said Musa. I am Lord Jesus Christ. I forgive you now. I can’t speak on that moment and shaking my body from fear and afraid and then I woke up. He told me, now I have believe in Jesus Christ.”

Seventh LetterClick Here to View

Addressed: Sisters and brothers in faith
Location: Kabul Detention Center in the Governor’s Compound
Date: December 18, 2010
Content:

  • Rejoices that there is victory over evil in Christ
  • Asks believers around the world to not lose courage but to remain firm in faith.
  • Tells believers that they are the lights of this world, and must flee the temptations of Satan.
  • Encourages believers to share the Gospel and pray for nonbelievers. “It’s our mission as the Lord’s disciples,” he writes.
  • Prays for all foreigners inside Afghanistan (both military and civilians) who came to bring stability and peace to Afghans by fighting “extremist groups and cruel and hard-hearted enemies.” Said prays, “Oh my Savior Lord, please please please don’t parish a hair of their heads return them to their families and their countries.”
  • Prays that God will build the church in Afghanistan’s thirty-four provinces.

Eighth LetterClick Here to View

Addressed: To the international community
Location: Kabul Detention Center
Date: December 25, 2010
Content:

  • Gives an overview of his situation in prison:
  • Worked with the Red Cross (ICRC) since 1994 as a physical-therapist in charge of the orthopedic center in Kabul.
  • Arrested eight months ago for converting to Christianity nine years earlier.
  • Refused any legal defense in court because he refused to return to Islam. He writes: “My fault is this: I have believed in God almighty and His only Son.”
  • Appeals to Afghanistan to obey the international treaty (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights) they have signed onto. Article 18 says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
  • Speaks about being the only bread winner for his six children and wife. His eldest son, who is nine years old, is disabled.
  • Pleads for mercy and help.
  • Says that he feels completely alone, but that the Lord is always with him.

Ninth and Final Letter Before Release  – Click Here to View

Addressed: to a brother and sister in faith
Location: Kabul Detention Center
Date: February 13, 2011
Content:

  • Describes a visit by representatives of the U.S. and Italian embassies offering him asylum
  • Writes about how he was visited by three Afghan officials who told him that he would be released within 24 hours if he wrote a statement declaring that he regretted his conversion to Christianity. “I laughed and replied, ‘I can’t deny  my Savior’s name,'” Musa wrote. “Because my life is just service to Jesus Christ and my die is going to heaven near Jesus Christ is. I am 100% ready to die. They pushed me much and much. I refused their demands.”
  • Prays for his enemies, that the will of God would be done in his life, and that God would build His church in Afghanistan.

Press Releases Regarding Said’s Case:

February 24: Imprisoned Afghan Christian Released from Prison
November 16: Afghan Imprisoned for Christian Faith
November 22: Trial Nears for Afghan Christian’s Conversion
November 29: Afghan Christian’s Trial ‘Rejected’ by Judge
November 30: Second Afghan Imprisoned for Christian Faith
December 14: Red Cross Neglects Arrested Afghan Employee for Converting to Christianity

ICC is on a mission to help persecuted Christians. Will you join us?