After six months in the limelight of unprecedented international advocacy, Hussein Qambar Ali, a Muslim convert to Christianity, fled his native Kuwait in mid-August to an undisclosed location in the United States.
Christian Solidarity International (CSI), an interdenominational human-rights group that helps persecuted Christians, flew the 44-year-old former Muslim out of Kuwait. Ten days before he left Kuwait, Hussein told Christianity Today by telephone, "I cannot take it anymore. The pressure is mounting. I am trying to leave this country now."
Hussein, who has changed his first name to Robert, was ruled an apostate by an Islamic court on May 29 (CT, July 15, 1996, p. 54). Under strict Islamic law, any Muslim who deserts Islam is forcibly divorced, divested of parental and inheritance rights, and subject to execution if unrepentant.
OUT OF HARM'S WAY:
According to CSI's U.S. president, Jim Jacobson, the American government was "extremely cooperative" in arranging a six-month visa and other details for Hussein. Kuwaiti officials had issued the convert a passport just days before his departure.
Jacobson told CT that at this point it was "completely [Hussein]'s decision" as to whether he would seek religious asylum in the United States. "As an organization, we go in and help people get out of harm's way," Jacobson explained. "He wanted to come; he felt as though his life was in jeopardy, and we verified this, so we acted on what we knew."
Stressing that Hussein's U.S. arrival had been planned for "total secrecy, without fanfare," Jacobson noted that CSI would not participate in any subsequent publicity involving Hussein.
"All we can say," he says, "is that Hussein is here. He's a free man, in a free society, so he can decide what ...1