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Old 08-29-2001, 01:22 PM   #1
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Be Careful Where You Say The Name "Jesus"

Taliban to Try Foreign Aid Workers

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia said Wednesday that it will put eight foreign aid workers on trial for charges of preaching Christianity in the Muslim nation.


The eight workers — two Americans, four Germans and two Australians — have been jailed for more than three weeks.

Sixteen Afghans were also arrested along with the members of the German-based Christian organization, Shelter Now International.

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.*

"After the investigation is completed, the case will go to court and the court will decide according to Shariat," or Islamic law, Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil told the Taliban's official Bakhtar News Agency.

There was no indication of when the probe would be finished.

Bakhtar 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.

Diplomats from the United States, Germany and Australia have been meeting Taliban foreign ministry officials to try to find out when an investigation will be completed into the charges that the aid workers were proselytizing.

The diplomats, who had been denied access to the detainees last week, said the atmosphere seems different now.

"They have engaged us with talks, which is something they were not doing last time," Helmut Landes, consular officer at the German Embassy in neighboring Pakistan, said of the Taliban on Tuesday. "We saw the detainees as soon as we arrived. This is all very positive."

The International Red Cross on Wednesday delivered a stack of woolen blankets to the detained aid workers at the Reform School, where they are being held in the heart of Kabul.

The Reform School is a sprawling, compound filled with trees where delinquent children, many of them arrested for begging and scavenging, are held.

The Red Cross truck delivered 24 blankets apparently for the eight foreigners and 16 Afghan staff of Shelter Now International, who were arrested more than three weeks ago.

The aid organization has reportedly been operating in Afghanistan since 1993, prior to the Taliban's takeover of Kabul in 1996. It operates in several provinces, but the Taliban have shut down all its projects since the arrests in Kabul.

It was expected that the parents of two jailed American women — Dana Curry and Heather Mercer — would be allowed to see their children again Wednesday.

On Monday, Mercer's father, John Mercer, and Curry's mother, who did not want to give her name, saw the two women, who are believed to be single and in their 20s. The meeting came hours after the parents arrived in the Afghan capital.

Since then, the parents have been confined to the U.N. guest house, where they are pacing the grounds, watching television and waiting to hear when they can next visit their daughters. The parents have avoided talking to the media and have refused to give any personal details, including information about their hometowns.

The other six aid workers being held have been identified by Taliban as four Germans — Margrit Stebnar, George Taubmann, Kati Jelinek and Silke Duerrkopf — and two Australians — Peter Bunch and Diana Thomas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

* emphasis added
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Old 08-29-2001, 05:29 PM   #2
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Old 08-29-2001, 05:53 PM   #3
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yikes! geesh poor people

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Old 08-29-2001, 06:12 PM   #4
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Sunday night on CNN there was a special about Afghanistan and the Talibans. Very bad situation over there.
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Old 08-29-2001, 08:00 PM   #5
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Fucking Taliban. Welcome to the 9th century. Just don't be anything but a Muslim male that toes their ridiculous line. Women are completely screwed over there.



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Old 08-29-2001, 10:04 PM   #6
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First off, just as not all "Christians" are the same, so not all "Muslims" are the same.

To think of all Muslims in the same light as the Taliban, or the radicals in Iran and the Palestinian-Isreali conflict is to say that Mother Teresa and Hitler are the same.
Both identified themselves as Christians.

I have to assume that those "missionaries", and so forth, that entered Afganistan knew perfectly well of the dangers they were exposing themselves to. I have to assume that they went of their own free will.
And henseforth surrendered their will and their safety into the hands of God, for the service of God.... For better or worse.
They follow in the footsteps of MANY past people of God.

This does not mean that they "got what they deserved". It does NOT mean that they should die. And it does not mean that the Taliban are right in doing what they have done.

It just IS. It is a fact.
Not the first time. Not the last.

"Killing in the name of Allah."
"Killing in the name of Jesus Christ."
"Killing in the name of Yahweh."

Human history is FULL of this sort of insanity (and Christians have been VERY good at it too!!!...Don't kid yourselves!).

So, God put us here to hate, condemn and kill each other in His name??
What strange "God" this Allah, this Jesus Christ, this Yahweh!

I think we'd end up killing each other for the color of our socks, if we could find no other reason!... No other reason to appease our egos, fears and insecurities.

Think of the irony: Of what the Jewish people have been through, throughout history, and recently through the Holocaust.
And see what Israel is NOW doing to the Palestinians. (Yes! the Palestinian terrorists kill innocent Jews! Yes... but do you honestly see peace possible by tit-for-tat terror, on both sides???)

Funny how the oppressed becomes the oppressor.

I can only pray for the captives, and hope.


...Oh yeah, IF you feel HATE for what the Taliban do here, or by what ANY group does, then you are in fact handing "victory" over to them. For you have allowed them to hurt and affect you. You have given them power. AND that is what they want.

"Geezzzz, Trash get off your soap box!"

Peace!!!!!
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Old 08-29-2001, 11:11 PM   #7
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I actually agree with a lot of what you say, Trash Can; I have visited a Muslim mosque with a predominantly Christian religion class before, and they welcomed us and respected our devotion to God; the imam considered our instructor, an ordained Methodist minister, to be a brother in the clergy.

But I have a huge problem with theocratic rule of government, whether it's Islamic, Christian, Hindu or whatever. Coerced faith is not as respectable, in my view, as personal faith of one's own choosing. And coercive faith is also oppressive.

We should not think of all Muslims as being like those who rule via the Taliban, as I know of many who say that groups such as the Taliban are blaspheming the Qur'an with their apostate death orders and such; but there are some other governmental orders that I have similar problems with, including Sudan (see my other thread), Saudi Arabia (where no other religion can establish a place of worship, by order of the law), and Iran (whose government has killed Christians due to the fact that they converted from Islam).

And, no, we are not clean as Christians; overzealous "missionaries" and Crusaders of the past had blood on their hands; but I think the instances of violence committed by Christian missionaries today are VERY remote. Most of today's Christian missionaries, predominantly Evangelican Protestant, Roman Catholic and liberal Protestant, are indeed human aid workers who share the love of Christ through medical care, food, clothing, housing and education.

The Taliban has a rigid policy of mis-information to the outside, so we do not even know if these aid workers even did any proselytizing. But I think they will be free soon; I am most concerned about the Afghan Christians, who possibly face a death sentence due to their religion. That should not have been allowed 1,000 years ago, 400 years ago, or TODAY.

And I also agree with you about Palestine; most people forget that Palestine, along with Lebanon, is one of the few areas in the Middle East that still has a considerable Christian population; and even within the Muslim population, most of them are NOT members of Hamas!

We had a Biblical archeologist at our church a few weeks ago who lives 8 months of the year in Jerusalem, studying at and out of the Jerusalm Center for Biblical Studies. His house is 2 blocks from the pizza shop that had been blown up the week before, and, until then, he ate there twice a week. He said he will not let Hamas scare him and make him leave, but he also reminded us that most Palestinians are not terrorists. He asked us to pray for everyone there, on any side or no side at all, peace for all, and reminded us that if peace doesn't come soon, we may not get to hear him speak again.

I even have a friend who is of Palestinian descent who grew up at my childhood church, we went to the same college together, and now we work in the same building. This morning, I read with interest a letter he had written to the Editor of The Birmingham News, and it reminded me of how close to home the situation in Palestine really can be to any of us. If you wish to read: www.al.com/opinion/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/xml/story.s sf/html_standard.xsl?/base/opinion/9990765092388029.xml

But the situations of religious persecution, whether in the form of a theocracy or the opposite in China, where practitioners of Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists, and non-state Church Christians are put in prison for their beliefs and practices, disturb me; it is sad that it is still going on today.

I DO hate what they do, but I do not hate them.

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Old 08-29-2001, 11:25 PM   #8
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NO NO NO guys! You misunderstood me!!!! I was NOT condemning all Muslims!!! NO NO NO!!! Just those who follow the Taliban and their idiocy!!!!!!

Or did I misunderstand you guys?

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Old 08-29-2001, 11:28 PM   #9
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I understood you, Martha. I was just agreeing in general with some of the points Trash Can was making.

~U2Alabama
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Old 08-29-2001, 11:30 PM   #10
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WHEW!

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Old 08-30-2001, 12:03 AM   #11
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I understand the concept of "hate the sin and not the sinner", but I still say "hate" is NOT a good thing in any case. Hate is a negative thing.
I'd rather "reject" sin. Turn away from sin.

I refuse to let hate rule my life any longer.

Peace.
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Old 08-30-2001, 03:43 AM   #12
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Fundamentalism sucks....
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Old 08-30-2001, 04:07 AM   #13
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I totally agree with Trash Can in the aspect of these people knowing their fate.

They knew what they were getting into and now they are being punishhed under the law of that country. If you go into a foriegn country, i dont care if its Afgan or Russia you gotta know the laws and follow them accordingly. And if you do not know the laws and break them its your ignorance that put you there.

note. I dont think this law is a very good one and the taliban are prety old fashioned.

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Old 08-30-2001, 04:19 AM   #14
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Sigh. My country Malaysia does not permit Christians to evangelise to Muslims either, but the penalty is nowhere as harsh as the Talibans. Muslims in Malaysia are free to convert to Christianity, but the price is that they get persecuted harshly by the mosque and Islamic community, so much so that in the past (or perhaps now even) Muslims have fled to Australia and USA to lead their new lives. Also, anyone who marries a Muslim automatically becomes a Muslim him/herself. All Muslims are also born into the religion, so their beliefs are deeply ingrained into them.

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Old 08-30-2001, 10:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Christy Moore:
I totally agree with Trash Can in the aspect of these people knowing their fate.

They knew what they were getting into and now they are being punishhed under the law of that country. If you go into a foriegn country, i dont care if its Afgan or Russia you gotta know the laws and follow them accordingly. And if you do not know the laws and break them its your ignorance that put you there.
So, you do not believe in civil disobedience? If we just blindly followed the "law of the land", blacks would still be sitting at the back of the bus, drinking from separate water fountains, and not allowed into the white restaraunts.

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Old 08-30-2001, 01:09 PM   #16
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Well, it is their 'civil disobedience' that will get sixteen Afghans executed. I am highly critical of missionaries, mostly due to the fact that I am opposed to proselytizing, and I often wonder if these 'do-gooders' are really doing it for the benefit of the people or their own selfish impulses to appear holy to the people they know back home? It reminds me often of the parable of the rich man in the front of the temple praising how wonderful and good and holy he is, while you have the beggar sitting in the back lamenting his sins. And, according to the gospels, who made into heaven first?

These 'aid workers' had better shape up and stop trying to convert people. Trust me. I know some evangelicals who were planning on going to Tibet to proselytize under the guise of 'English education.' Lying bastards. As the book of Ecclesiastes states, 'There is an appropriate time for everything.' This is not the appropriate time!

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Old 08-30-2001, 02:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
Well, it is their 'civil disobedience' that will get sixteen Afghans executed. I am highly critical of missionaries, mostly due to the fact that I am opposed to proselytizing, and I often wonder if these 'do-gooders' are really doing it for the benefit of the people or their own selfish impulses to appear holy to the people they know back home? It reminds me often of the parable of the rich man in the front of the temple praising how wonderful and good and holy he is, while you have the beggar sitting in the back lamenting his sins. And, according to the gospels, who made into heaven first?

These 'aid workers' had better shape up and stop trying to convert people. Trust me. I know some evangelicals who were planning on going to Tibet to proselytize under the guise of 'English education.' Lying bastards. As the book of Ecclesiastes states, 'There is an appropriate time for everything.' This is not the appropriate time!
Melon
Melon, that's ridiculous. Do you know Christ's comman before he ascended to his Father's right hand? If so, you know that he said to go into all nations, making disciples of all men. Most people evangelize because they want to spread the word of God, and to see men come to ever-lasting life. These people don't have the right to publicly worship as they please. Don't you see anything wrong with that? It's odd that you cry out for civil rights, but when it comes to things that don't match up to your philosophical and religious beliefs, you don't seem to pay much attention. Melon, you've got a serious issue with Christianity, and it often comes across as spiteful and condescending. If you were in Afghanistan and publicly spoke out against Islam the way you speak out against Christianity on the internet, you could face death. That's a horrible thing, can't you see that? Everyone should have the right to worship or not worship the God of their choice.
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Old 08-30-2001, 05:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
Well, it is their 'civil disobedience' that will get sixteen Afghans executed. I am highly critical of missionaries, mostly due to the fact that I am opposed to proselytizing, and I often wonder if these 'do-gooders' are really doing it for the benefit of the people or their own selfish impulses to appear holy to the people they know back home? It reminds me often of the parable of the rich man in the front of the temple praising how wonderful and good and holy he is, while you have the beggar sitting in the back lamenting his sins. And, according to the gospels, who made into heaven first?

These 'aid workers' had better shape up and stop trying to convert people. Trust me. I know some evangelicals who were planning on going to Tibet to proselytize under the guise of 'English education.' Lying bastards. As the book of Ecclesiastes states, 'There is an appropriate time for everything.' This is not the appropriate time!

Melon

My parents spent the prime years of their lives as missionaries. You might be shocked to find that not only did they bring medicine and literacy to the people we worked with, but that they spent a good five years just living in the village, learning the culture, the language, the people, etc. before even starting to share the Gospel. They didn't hide why they were there, but if you have some image in your mind of missionaries being wide-eyed fanatics holding natives at gunpoint and forcing them to swear on a Bible, perhaps you need to join the century we live in.

I've seen the hopelessness in people's eyes as they carry out ceremonies to coerce the spirits of their ancestors not to harm them, I've heard them wailing as they carry their loved ones to an early grave brought on by preventable illnesses, I've worked alongside them in their fields, I've laughed and cried with them. I've also seen the hope ignite in them at the idea that life could be more than a fear-filled journey of rituals and burials. I have a very clear memory of the last time I was in the village that my heart still calls home. Sitting in the little wooden church, seeing the familiar faces that I love, and choking back tears when these strong stoic men and women came to me and told me how grateful they were that my parents had come all the way from across the world to share the story of salvation with them...and that although they didn't know if we'd meet again on this earth that we would surely be together in heaven.

Obviously, I can't be fully objective about this. It was my childhood. I'm too close to the situation. But I'll be damned if I have to sit back and watch you spout off and call amazing people like my parents and others like them "do-gooders" and "lying bastards" when you have no first-hand knowledge whatsoever of the situation. My parents have the courage and the willingness to put their lives where their beliefs are. And that's more than I can say for the majority of people I've met.

-sula
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Old 08-30-2001, 06:43 PM   #19
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I have to agree with Sulawesi and Bama on this. Melon, there are some missionaries that just go out there for the "glory and fame" back home(obviously the ones your basing your entire opinion upon), but there are way too many that truly care and even put their lives on the line for the people in the area they are serving their missions for you to make such generalizations. My brother was a missionary in the West Indies and much of his time was spent giving service to the people there, such as helping them mend their houses, providing food, etc...and he also taught English classes at the church. While serving there he was held at gunpoint, was threatened with a knife, and had stones thrown at him, not to mention many verbal attacks from people who did not agree with his religious views. And no, he never forced his views on anyone, or tried to pressure them into listening to what he had to say. He made great friends with many of the people there and continues correspondance with some of them even now. Melon, I do not think you know enough about the situation in Afghanistan or the people who were missionaries there to say that they were just "do-gooders" looking for glory back home. That is a very narrow-minded and prejudiced view.
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Old 08-30-2001, 07:36 PM   #20
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Well, Melon, I must say that I am disappointed that someone who values tolerance and freedom of speech and religious expression as much as you do would make such a response. You always speak of how you are a strong defender of the separation of churhc and sate (so and I) but you seem to be okay with the acts of the theocratic rule of the Taliban when it comes to Christian aid workers, then you "blame" the execution of Afghan Christians on these aid workers.

I'm not even seeking any violent action against the Taliban; I only hope to bring attention to the situation, and hopefully peaceful diplomatic pressure.

And I take personal issue with your attack on missionaries; my aunt and uncle were missionaries in Botswana in the 70s, and my cousins grew up there; our own Johnny Swallow spent his Spring Break or summer vacation on a mission trip in Latin America; many of these people, as Sula and Cathy have mentioned, bring help to the less fortunate, something I am guilty of not doing enough. Melon, what if Mother Teresa had been called to Afghanistan instead of Calcutta, India, and some of her acts were deemed by the Taliban to be "proselytizing"?

Perhaps I should have been more broad in my problems with the Taliban, including their declaration in April that Hindu citizens would be required to wear yellow arm bands in order to be easily identified among the majority Muslim population. They said it was for the safety of Hindus, but it seems it was really to make it easier to ostracize and/or persecute them (see: Nazi Europe leading up to World War II). People flee Afghanistan and escape to IRAN of all places for asylum! Iran, FYI, is another theocracy, but even Iran is better than Afghanistan! Let's look at Amnesty International's passage on Afghanistan and the Taliban:

Human rights abuses by the warring factions against members of rival ethnic groups occurred throughout 1999. Taleban forces burned homes, destroyed orchards, wheat fields and irrigation systems and forcibly displaced more than 100,000 mainly Tajik people. The UN imposed financial and aviation sanctions on the Taleban for not surrendering Osama bin Laden to stand trial for his alleged involvement in US embassy bombings in August 1998. Women, children, human rights defenders, members of ethnic groups, people accused of homosexual activity, and refugees were systematically targeted by the Taleban and other warring factions on the basis of their identity. Taleban courts imposed sentences of death, amputation and flogging after apparently unfair trials.

That's from AI's 2000 Country Report for Afghanistan, and THAT is just the introductory paragraph; if you wish to read the whole thing, click here: www.web.amnesty.org/web/ar2000web.nsf/ebbd3384655495f2802568f500615e2f/f45d4bd4ae8ee428802568f200552988!OpenDocument

Perhaps you think the only bad theocracy is the "Bible Belt" of the Southern U.S. which you often rail against; however, I live in that area, and no one has been jailed lately on the basis of their religion.

And Trash Can and Bonoman, please remember that "turning the other cheek" does not mean to turn a blind eye to injustice and oppression; I still feel that my rage is justified.

~U2Alabama
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