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Beware! Four Muslim militants behead a Christian convert

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 28th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A grisly video released to international media by two separate Afghan sources depicts four Afghan militants beheading a man believed to be a Christian in Herat Province. The video is intended to warn Afghanistan's tiny Christian population of the dire consequences if American forces leave Afghanistan. President Barack Obama announced his intentions to begin a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops earlier this week.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "If U.S. troops are not in Afghanistan the Taliban will come to power," Obaid S. Christ warned. Now exiled to India, Christ says that "We will have the same situation we had in the 1990s when the Russians left Afghanistan, when we had civil war and millions killed."

Christ acknowledged that the U.S.-backed government headed by President Hamid Karzai has been no friend to Christian converts. He says that earlier this year, two civilian courts sentenced two Afghan Christians to death for changing their religion.

It was only after bowing to international pressure, including personal visits to one jail by U.S. and European diplomats, the two were released and allowed to leave the country. Both now live in Europe.

The recent video is an example of the dangers that wait for any individual turning from Islam in Afghanistan.

The militants in the video, who claim to be Taliban, captured the victim, a man in his 40s named Abdul Latif earlier this year from his village outside Enjeel, a town south of Herat.

In the two-minute video, the men, wearing explosive belts (or suicide vests) and kaffiya head scarves to cover their faces, recite verses from the Quran while forcing Latif to the ground and pinning him with their feet.

"You who are joined with pagans . . . your sentence [is] to be beheaded," reads one of the militants in Farsi from what looked like a paper decree. "Whoever changes his religion should be executed." The passages refer to Sura 8:12 ("I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks . . .") and the hadiths, or sayings of Mohammed.

As the victim fights his captors from the ground, one of the militants thrusts a medium-sized blade into the side of his neck. With blood flowing onto the ground the militants shouted "Allahu Akhbar" or "God is great" over and over until Latif is fully beheaded, his head placed on top of his chest.

The brutal killing followed a now-too-familiar pattern used in other beheadings captured on video, notably the killings of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002 and U.S. defense contractor Nick Berg in Iraq in 2004.

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