to the cause of religious freedom. In his message, the Holy Father made headlines with his assertion that "Christians are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith."
That statement may have surprised some, but not those who remembered the October 31st attack on the Syro-Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, or the families of the 21 Coptic Christians killed in Egypt on that same World Day of Peace. Or Musa Sayed, an Afghan Christian who could be executed in a matter of days on charges of apostasy.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken up Sayed's cause
to the federal government. Writing on the bishops' behalf is Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of Kingston, chairman of the CCCB Human Rights Committee.
The Honorable Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
K1A 0A6Fax: 613-992-6802
I wish to bring to your attention the urgent case of Mr. Musa Sayed. Reports indicate that he is to be executed within a few days on charges of apostasy because of his conversion to Christianity some eight years ago. Mr. Sayed is an Afghani amputee who is currently in prison. He has worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross for some 15 years, and has specialized in fitting children with prostheses. He is a married man and the father of six young children.
We urge the Government of Canada to express its condemnation of this religious persecution, and to intervene with the Government of Afghanistan for mercy and clemency for Mr. Sayed.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
+ Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of Kingston
Chairman of the Human Rights Committee
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
AFP also reported on Sayed's case
and other Afghan Christians in imminent danger. More details on his arrest can be found here
. The contact information for the minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as your local Member of Parliament, is available online