A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dying for Christianity

In another case of intolerance by the Muslim World, an Afghani man who converted to Christianity is facing execution over his choice.

Here is the story from the Chicago Tribune:

Abdul Rahman told his family he was a Christian. He told the neighbors, bringing shame upon his home. But then he told the police, and he could no longer be ignored.

Now, in a major test of Afghanistan's fledgling court system, Rahman, 42, faces the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity. Prosecutors say he should die. So do his family, his jailers, even the judge. Rahman has no lawyer. Jail officials refused to let anyone see Rahman on Monday, despite permission granted by the country's justice minister.

"We will cut him into little pieces,
" said Hosnia Wafayosofi, who works at the jail, as she made a cutting motion with her hands. "There's no need to see him."

Rahman's trial, which started Thursday, is thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan. It goes to the heart of the struggle between Islamic reformists and fundamentalists in the country, which is still recovering from 23 years of war and the harsh rule of the Taliban, a radical religious regime that fell in late 2001.

Even under the more moderate government now in power, Islamic law is supposed to be followed, and many believe it requires the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam for another religion.

"We are Muslim, our fathers were Muslim, our grandfathers were Muslim," said Abdul Manan, Rahman's father, who is 75. "This is an Islamic country. Imagine if your son told a police commander, also a Muslim, that he is a Christian. How would this affect you? It's very difficult for us."

Much of Afghanistan remains conservative and religious. But Islamic rules are violated in Afghanistan every day--whether by alcohol being sold openly on the streets, or by prostitutes who cater to both foreigners and Afghans, or by the booming opium trade.

Many Islamic scholars believe that Muslims who convert from Islam should be killed, but liberal and moderate scholars disagree. One Afghan liberal scholar, Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, spent almost three months in jail last fall after publishing a magazine challenging many traditional views on Islamic law, including the belief that Muslims who convert to other religions deserve to die.
Oh, such friendly, welcoming people.

Michelle Malkin has had a lot of coverage on this:

A Christian on Trial
Save Abdul Rahman
"We will cut him into little pieces"
Who Will Save Abdul Rahman?
Video: I Am Not An Apostate

And, via Michelle, Sign a Petition in support of Rahman, E-mail President Bush, and

Write the embassy of Afghanistan:
Ambassador Said T. Jawad
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
info@embassyofafghanistan.org

Contact the State Department:

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Main Switchboard:
202-647-4000