Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Afghan Clerics Demand Korean Christians’ Expulsion

The leaders of radical Islam fear the Gospel. To wit ... Afghan clerics demand Korean Christians’ expulsion.

In full ...

Hundreds of Afghan clerics rallied in an ancient mosque on Wednesday to demand the expulsion of scores of visiting South Korean Christians, accusing them of trying to spread Christianity.

“They are not needed here,” Sayed Haider Hashimi, a protest organiser, said. “They have come to promulgate Christianity and the government should send them out.”

Another cleric warned the government of “bad consequences” if it did not send the Koreans home.

About 500 Islamic clerics took part in the protest in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where more than 200 Korean Christians are attending a “peace festival” despite warnings by Seoul that they could be targets for attacks.

They are among about 1,000 South Korean Christians who have come to this deeply conservative Islamic nation on a mission they say is to help Afghans and not to preach Christianity. Another 500 are expected to join them soon.

Kang Sung Han, a member of the visiting group in Kabul said he was aware of the protest but said he and his countrymen had not come to to preach Christianity.

“They have come to travel to villages to teach people computer skills, teach them language and provide them educational and health facilities,” Han told Reuters.

A government official in Mazar-i-Sharif said authorities had seen no signs the Koreans were preaching Christianity.

In February, thousands demonstrated against the release of a Afghan man facing the death penalty for converting to Christianity from Islam.

The man, Abdur Rahman, was released from prison and then spirited to Italy after international outrage and calls by Western leaders and Pope Benidict.

The move angered many in Afghanistan where Islamic Taliban militants, ousted by US-led coalition troops in 2001, are fighting to topple President Hamid Karzai’s Western-backed government and drive out foreign forces.