Once found out, Husein Ali Qambar who by now had taken the name of Robert Husein Ali, stood up to the storm of reactions around him. Instead of hiding, he willingly met with the press, wearing a small silver cross around his neck, and to the question about why he had decided to become Christian, he candidly answered 'I have found God elsewhere'.
Following the practice established by tradition, according to which the community must try to win back the apostate before punishing him/her, a group of learned men met several times with Qambar for the purpose of reconverting him. By January 1996, when it became clear that he would not give in to this amicable approach and recant his decision, popular anger began rising against Qambar. In the National Assembly an islamist deputy called for legal actions to be taken against the convert. Not long after, an islamist lawyer sued Qambar for apostasy. To the court, the plaintiff said that he hoped the lawsuit would make the accused 'regret and reverse his decision or else be officially declared an apostate and bear the consequences'. Meanwhile, the home of the convert was vandalized, he was entirely barred from seeing his children, and when his father passed away, he was forbidden from receiving his share of the inheritance. Gradually, the number of people suing Qambar for apostasy grew. At the same time, he found no lawyers willing to defend him. In May 1996 the judge in the shi'a lower court issued a ruling that officially declared Qambar an apostate and recommended that the death penalty be pronounced against him. Qambar appealed against the apostasy ruling. His appeal was to be reviewed in September 1996. One month before that date, the authorities issued Qambar a passport and he left Kuwait for the USA. What happened in the following months, I don't know because my fieldwork for that year had come to an end and I had to leave for Norway. But when I returned to Kuwait for a brief visit in November 1997, I learnt that Qambar had reconverted to Islam and was now back in the country.
The apostasy law