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Bush concerned about Afghan Christian convert

Written by: Staff
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WHEELING, W.Va., Mar 22 (Reuters) U S President George W Bush said on Wednesday he was deeply troubled that an Afghan man could face the death penalty in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity from Islam.

An Afghan judge said this week a man named Abdur Rahman had been jailed for converting from Islam to Christianity and could face the death penalty if he refused to become a Muslim again.

Sharia, or Islamic law, stipulates death for apostasy. The Afghan legal system is based on a mix of civil and sharia law.

The case has raised alarm overseas and the United States.

''We expect them to honor the universal principle of freedom,'' Bush said during a visit to Wheeling to talk about the war on terrorism.

''I'm troubled when I hear -- deeply troubled -- when I hear the fact that a person who has converted away from Islam may be held to account. That's not the universal application of the values that I talked about. I look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship,'' Bush said.

Bush visited Kabul earlier this month in a show of support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

REUTERS PG KN2350

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