“Hello, Hamid? Condi…Fine, thanks, and you?…A double eagle on a par-5 hole! Wow, that’s terrific…Yes…Look, Hamid, about this Abdul Rahman character, you guys are making it harder for me to keep on saying how peaceful and tolerant Islam is. Can you cut me some slack here, please?…
“Oh, no, I’m certainly not saying you should stop the trial…Release him? Oh, no, I’m not saying that…You guys are a sovereign government…A sovereign country…But…you’re really making us come out of this war on terror thing with egg on our face, Hamid…After all, we fought for freedom, right? And that includes freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, right? I mean, Hamid, doesn’t your own Constitution say — What’s that? ‘Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law‘? And what are those limits, Hamid? ‘In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.’…I see…I see…And Islam actually forbids conversion to another religion?…Wow, Hamid, I had no idea….
“But Hamid, can’t you release him just as a favor to us?…What’s that? People actually believe in laws like this? You’ll have open revolt?…Well, yes, we did sign off on your Constitution, it’s true. But we didn’t realize that anybody actually took seriously — well, of course Hamid. I see the tough position you’re in…No, I don’t think you should be made out to be an American stooge…No, of course we don’t want to see your government fall…All right, Hamid…Calm down…It’s all right…We won’t cut off any aid…No, not even if Abdul Rahman is executed…Of course we know we’ve come this far with you, we can’t abandon you now…Yes, certainly, Hamid…We’ll go to Bullfeather’s next time you’re in Washington…All right, Hamid…You have a lovely evening too…Thank you…Good night.”
From FoxNews, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
WASHINGTON “” Concerned about the fate of a Christian convert in Afghanistan on trial for his life, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday seeking a “favorable resolution” of the case.
“This is a very deeply concerning development in Afghanistan and we have raised it at the highest levels,” Rice said during a press conference with the Greek minister of foreign affairs. “We look forward, hopefully, to a resolution to this in the very near future.”…
“We have raised it in the strongest possible terms to make clear that it is our great hope and desire that Afghanistan will reaffirm what is already in its constitution, that the universal declaration on human rights will be respected, and that this will be resolved in a way that is consistent with those principles,” Rice said.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack reported that Rice underlined to Karzai the “fact that the United States stands forthrightly for principles of freedom of worship, freedom of expression, and that these are bedrock principles of democracy around the world, these are principles that are enshrined in the Afghan constitution and they’re principles that are enshrined in the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
“We’re looking for a favorable resolution at the earliest possible time,” McCormack added.
On Wednesday, President Bush said he was troubled by the possible decapitation of Rahman.
“I’m troubled when I hear, deeply troubled when I hear, the fact that a person who converted away from Islam may be held to account. That’s not the universal application of the values that I talked about. I look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship,” Bush said.
At the White House on Thursday, spokesman Scott McClellan said he was aware of Rice’s call, but had not gotten a readout yet of the content. He said the administration will continue to stay in close contact with the Afghan government “and work with them to make sure that people’s religious freedoms are protected.”
In deference to the country’s sovereignty, Rice evidently did not demand specifically that the trial be halted and the defendant released.
“This is clearly an Afghan decision to take. They are a sovereign government. It’s a sovereign country. But as I pointed out, we believe that it is important that as the issue is resolved, that those fundamental principles of freedom of religion, freedom of expression are affirmed in the resolution of this case,” McCormack said….
In Afghanistan, Supreme Court judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada told Reuters that “Afghanistan is an Islamic country and its judiciary will act independently and neutrally. … No other policy will be accepted apart from Islamic orders and what our constitution says.”