Abdul Rahman Update. This would be a story for Dhimmi Watch, illuminating as it does Islam’s traditional restrictions on freedom of conscience and denigration of other religions, except that the fact that it is happening in Afghanistan shows the deep flaws of the Bush democracy project’s failure to come to grips with the realities of Islam and the implications of the attachment to Sharia in Afghanistan — and Iraq.
From the BBC, with thanks to Tastard:
An Afghan man is being tried in a court in the capital, Kabul, for converting from Islam to Christianity.
Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants.
He converted 16 years ago as an aid worker helping refugees in Pakistan. His estranged family denounced him in a custody dispute over his two children….
Afghanistan’s post-Taleban constitution is based on Sharia law, and prosecutors in the case says this means Abdul Rahman, whose trial began last Thursday, should be put to death.
When he was arrested last month he was found to be carrying a bible and charged with rejecting Islam which is punishable by death in Afghanistan.
Trial judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah told the BBC that Mr Rahman, 41, would be asked to reconsider his conversion, which he made while working for a Christian aid group in Pakistan.
“We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him,” the judge told the BBC on Monday.
If not, we will kill him. How tolerant!
But if he refused to reconvert, then his mental state would be considered first before he was dealt with under Sharia law, the judge added….
The Afghan Human Rights Commission has called for a better balance in the judiciary, with fewer judges advocating Sharia law and more judges with a wider legal background.
Several journalists have been prosecuted under blasphemy laws in post-Taleban Afghanistan.
The editor of a women’s rights magazine was convicted of insulting Islam and sentenced to death last year – but was later released after an apology and heavy international pressure.
Mr Karzai’s office says the president will not intervene in the case.
Observers say executing a converted Christian would be a significant precedent as a conservative interpretation of Sharia law in Afghanistan.
But it would also outrage Western nations which put Mr Karzai in power and are pouring billions of dollars into supporting the country.
Yes, they would probably remain outraged for a day or so, and then decide that Afghanistan with Karzai is preferable to Afghanistan without him, and continue the jizya payments as before.