The bridge at San Luis Rey
Three men currently in the blogs are loosely connected by a single theme. The first is Abdul Rahman, a Muslim who has been sentenced to death for converting to Christianity. Michelle Malkin has been featuring him prominently. Wikipedia has a short account of his life.
Abdul Rahman (probably born 1965) is an Afghan citizen who was arrested and charged with apostasy in Afghanistan in March 2006. His conversion from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death under most interpretations of the shariat, Islamic law (see apostasy in Islam). Abdul Rahman's arrest and trial has brought international attention to an apparent contradiction in the Constitution of Afghanistan, which recognizes both freedom of religion and the Hanafi school of sharia law.
Abdul Rahman was probably born in 1965 in Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan. He converted to Christianity in 1990, while providing medical assistance to Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan, as a staff member of a Christian non-governmental aid group. In 1993, he moved to Germany, and he later unsuccessfully sought asylum in Belgium before returning to Afghanistan in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban government. Abdul Rahman was divorced by his wife over his conversion to Christianity, and in the ensuing custody battle over the couple's two daughters, she and her family raised the issue of his religion as grounds for denying him custody.
Though facing a possible death sentence, Rahman holds firm to his convictions: "They want to sentence me to death and I accept it… I am a Christian, which means I believe in the Trinity… I believe in Jesus Christ."
The second is Fabrizio Quattrocchi, who the President of Italy has just awarded "Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Civile". His story is at Winds of Change and at the National Review Online. James Robbins at the National Review tells his story.
Witness Fabrizio Quattrocchi, 36, a baker from Italy who went to Iraq to work as a security guard for a contracting firm. He and three other Italians were taken hostage by al-Katibat al-Khadra, the Green Battalion, who demanded that Italy release some of the Muslim extremists they are holding, and that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apologize for statements he made that allegedly insulted Islam. They showed the hostages on video, and threatened to kill them if their demands were not met. To demonstrate they were serious, they took Quattrocchi to a field, and had him dig a large hole. They then put a hood over his head and forced him to kneel by the grave, preparing to murder him. But Fabrizio did not cooperate. He stood and tried to pull off the hood, shouting, "Now I'll show you how an Italian dies!" The terrorists shot him in the back of the neck.
Lastly, there is Desmond Doss, Second World War Medal of Honor Winner, who died at 87 in his home in Alabama.
“Raised a Seventh-day Adventist … instead of accepting a deferment, Doss voluntarily joined the Army as a conscientious objector … as a company medic … in Okinawa, Japan, he refused to take cover from enemy fire as he rescued approximately 75 wounded soldiers, carrying them one by one and lowering them over the edge of the 400-foot Maeda Escarpment. He did not stop until nearly 12 hours, later when he had brought everyone to safety”
In other news:
Iraq's embassy to Canada lashed out at the Christian Peacemaker Teams Friday, calling them "phony pacifists" and "dupes" after the anti-war group responded to the rescue of three of its kidnapped activists by condemning the U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq. In a statement obtained by the National Post, the Iraqi embassy called CPT "willfully ignorant" and "outrageous," and accused the Chicago-based group of being on the side of anti-democratic forces in Iraq. "The Christian Peacemaker Teams practises the kind of politics that automatically nominate them as dupes for jihadism and fascism," the embassy's statement said. ...
New details also emerged about the men's treatment during their confinement. Nash [Maxine Nash, a CPT worker in Baghdad] said the men struggled to communicate with their captors. Only Fox spoke a small amount of Arabic, so they mostly used hand signals.
The men also said they had not been physically abused: They were given food and kept somewhat warm during the long winter. The main problem they encountered during 118 days of captivity, Nash said, was boredom. "If you're sitting there day after day with nothing to do, that must be a pretty boring thing," Nash said. "They didn't mention that they had a lot of fear on a daily basis. There were certainly times when they were fearful, mostly because of the unknown -- for example, when Tom [Fox] was taken and not returned."
Fox, the American hostage, disappeared from the group on Feb. 12, Nash said. The hostages were initially under the impression he had been freed, but realized he may have met another fate after catching a glimpse of his face on television. The hostages did not learn for certain Fox was dead until after their release.
The CPT workers in Iraq are also counteracting rumours Fox was tortured before he was killed. Nash cited two unidentified "independent sources" who said the American had been shot in the head and chest, but had not been tortured.