.- Abdul Rahman, the Afghan Christian convert who was condemned to death for abandoning the Muslim faith but later released under international pressure, publicly thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his intervention and his support.
According to the ANSA news agency, Abdul Rahman, who was granted asylum in Italy, said he never wants to return to his native Afghanistan. “I thank the Pope, the Italian government and all those who came to my aid,” he said during an interview on Italian television.
Pope Benedict XVI appealed to the president of Afghanistan for his release in a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. Rahman’s release, he said, would be “decisive for our mutual efforts in the task of seeking a better mutual understanding and respect among the different religions and cultures of the world.”
Rahman was released last Monday and sought asylum in several countries. Italy and Germany were the first to offer refuge to the Afghan Christian convert. Last Wednesday Rahman traveled to Italy where he is currently staying.