By RAY RIVERA
Published: February 5, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — The jail commander had remained silent as the prisoner, Sayed Mussa, told a reporter about his journey from Islam to Christianity: his secret baptism nine years earlier, his faith in Jesus Christ and the promise of heaven.
But when Mr. Mussa said he believed in the Bible but also loved the Koran’s teachings, it was too much. “So you love the Koran and the Bible?” the commander broke in incredulously. “What kind of love is this?”
A guard thumbing Muslim prayer beads squared his shoulders and started to rise. “You want me to beat him?” he asked.
“No, no,” the commander said, calming himself and waving off the guard. “Everyone has the right to express themselves.”
Such has been Mr. Mussa’s life since his arrest for converting to Christianity nine months ago in a case that illustrates the contradictions — and limits — of religious freedom in Afghanistan.
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