HOLY LAND. 29 July 2003(Barnabas Fund) The body of a Muslim convert to Christianity who went missing in mid-July, has been returned to his family, slaughtered and cut into four pieces by Islamic extremists.
The man left his friends and family almost two weeks ago heading into a mountainous region of the Palestinian Authority area. He took Christian materials including cassettes, videos and Bibles with him. After approximately ten days during which his friends and family received no word from him, his body was returned to them. He had been brutally killed and his body carved into four pieces as a warning to other converts. He leaves behind a wife and two small children. The names and further details of those involved are being withheld by Barnabas Fund for their own safety.
Local Christians in this part of the Holy Land have been involved in supporting converts from a Muslim background who suffer persecution from Islamic extremists in the Palestinian Authority areas. Some of them have also been the target of attacks. Last year one such Christian received a phone call telling him that a Muslim convert was in a serious condition in hospital; in response he immediately set off in his car. On the way his vehicle was deliberately driven off the road by another car. The phone call later proved to be a hoax designed to lead him into trap. In another attempt on his life this same Christian was hospitalised. Local Christians working to support converts from Islam report that Islamic militants in the Palestinian Authority area deliberately target converts. Hamas in particular reportedly receives funding from Iran
specifically for this purpose.
According to shari'a (Islamic law) any Muslim male who leaves Islam (apostatises) faces the death penalty. Barnabas Fund is campaigning for a change in Islamic teaching on apostasy. A petition has been launched, copies of which can be obtained from the address below, or downloaded from
http://www.barnabasfund.org/Apostasy/petition.htm. In Britain's House of Commons 45 MPs have put their name to an Early Day Motion calling for an end to the punishment of apostates.