Taliban May Persecute 8 for Preaching Christ

Americans, Germans, Australians Face Trial

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KABUL, Afghanistan, AUG. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Eight international aid workers will face trial on charges that they preached Christianity, the ruling Taliban militia has announced.

«After the investigation is completed, the case will go to court and the court will decide according to Shariah,» or Islamic law, Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil told the Taliban´s official Bakhtar News Agency. The eight foreign aid workers — two Americans, four Germans and two Australians — have been held for more than three weeks on charges of propagating Christianity in this deeply Muslim nation.

The members of the German-based Christian organization, Shelter Now International, were arrested along with 16 Afghan staff members. No date has been set for the trial, the Associated Press reported.

According to Taliban law, the penalty for foreigners caught preaching Christianity is three to 10 days in jail and expulsion. The penalty for an Afghan who converts to Christianity is death.

The official news agency quoted Muttawakil as saying the court ruling will be sent to the Taliban´s reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who has final say in all matters in Afghanistan.

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