The Qur’an, according to traditional Islamic theology, exists and can exist only in Arabic. Its Arabic language is essential to its character. Translations have long been forbidden, but they are allowed for purposes of da’wah — Islamic proselytizing. Muslims themselves produce translations into almost all of the languages of the world. But Zalmay’s translation, according to this BBC report, “misinterprets verses about alcohol, begging, homosexuality and adultery.”
Considering the mainstream Western view of the Book of Peace, this means that Zalmay’s translation must say that alcohol use, begging, homosexuality and adultery should be punished severely instead of being met with compassion and mercy, right? The BBC report is silent about what exactly the translation said that was so offensive, but actually, given the mainstream teachings of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and the content of Qur’anic verses such as 5:90 (alcohol is an abomination), 7:80-81 (forbidding homosexuality), and 24:2 (100 lashes for adultery), it is more likely that the translation was more relaxed than the Arabic Qur’an on these matters. It may be akin to the Laleh Bakhtiar translation of the Qur’an that drastically rewrites 4:34 to remove that verse’s clear reference to wife-beating.
If that is so, then in the West Zalmay might have been hailed as a reformer. But in Afghanistan reformers are not hailed. This is the fruit of the Sharia provision in the Afghan Constitution, a provision that the U.S. government should not have allowed into that Constitution. But since the U.S. government is wedded to the idea that Islam is a religion of peace, what possible objection could it have had to Islamic law?
An Afghan journalist who printed a translation of the Koran in a Persian dialect is on trial for blasphemy and could face the death penalty if convicted. But with threats from various powerful groups, he could face the same fate even if acquitted.
Ghaws Zalmay was arrested last November trying to flee to Pakistan after Afghanistan’s Senate backed a group of powerful Sunni clerics who were calling for his arrest. He was scheduled to have a third hearing in a Kabul court on Wednesday.
Zalmay, who was a spokesman for the Attorney General and head of Afghanistan’s Journalists’ Union at the time of his arrest, was charged with 13 counts of blasphemy. He is accused of having “written his own Koran” in Dari, one of Afghanistan’s official languages. His two brothers and a friend were imprisoned, too, charged with helping him flee.
Following Zalmay’s arrest, there were demonstrations and calls for his death, including from former Prime Minister Ahmadshah Ahmadzai, a warlord and opponent to President Hamid Karzai in the 2004 presidential elections.
Now, as Afghanistan struggles with its nascent judicial system, Zalmay”s case “” and others like his “” are putting the country”s experiment with democracy to the test….
No kidding, really?
If the court acquits Zalmay, his life is in danger outside the prison,” Afzali said….
No kidding, really?