Respectful Insolence

A few days ago, I wrote about Abdul Rahman, an Afghan man who converted to Christianity and was being prosecuted under Islamic Sharia law as an apostate, the penalty for which can be death. Indeed, the prosecutor was seeking the death penalty.

It looks like someone finally came to their senses:

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said.

The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.

An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released.

“The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case,” the official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

“The decision about his release will be taken possibly tomorrow,” the official added. “They don’t have to keep him in jail while the attorney general is looking into the case.”

Abdul Wakil Omeri, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, confirmed that the case had been dismissed because of “problems with the prosecutors’ evidence.”

He said several of Rahman’s family members have testified that the 41-year-old has mental problems. “It is the job of the attorney general’s office to decide if he is mentally fit to stand trial,” he told AP.


No doubt all the international pressure had something to do with this. I’m guessing that President Bush got an earful from his fundamentalist Christian base, whipped up through conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin and others, and called his “good friend” Hamid Karzai to express his “concern” about this case.

Sadly, they’re going to label Rahman as mentally ill and somehow unfit to stand trial as an out. If he’s smart, he’ll leave the country as soon as he’s released, because his fellow Muslims want him dead. If he sticks around, it’s only a matter of time before he’s toast.

I ask again: Is this what our soldiers are fighting and dying for, an intolerant theocracy that kills those who reject Islam?

Comments

  1. #1 Corkscrew
    March 26, 2006

    Favourite quote:

    “Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity. That is why we have told him if he regrets what he did, then we will forgive him,” – Ansarullah Mawlafizada (trial judge)

    He keeps using that word “tolerance”. I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.

  2. #2 steve s
    March 26, 2006

    Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity, in much the same way as Yosimite Sam was a man of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity.

  3. #3 Mechanophile
    March 26, 2006

    That quote’s best if you include what he said just before it, too:

    “The Prophet Muhammad has said several times that those who convert from Islam should be killed if they refuse to come back. Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity.”

    Very cognitive dissonance-y. It reminds me of some of the “CAN YOU NOT SEE THE LOVE IN THE BURNING OF SODOMITES?!” quotes from FSTDT.com. I do agree with you, though: I do not think those words mean what he thinks they mean.

  4. #4 Scott Belyea
    March 26, 2006

    “…came to their senses”

    No, I don’t think so. The moderately more moderate government simply found a way out. Neither the law nor the extreme clerics have changed …

  5. #5 wheatdogg
    March 26, 2006

    What we should do is offer this poor sucker asylum in the US. Or maybe Canada will step up to the plate on this one …

  6. #6 Mechanophile
    March 26, 2006

    Don’t look up here for sanity over the next little while… From what I’ve gathered, our current government isn’t big on rocking the boat. We’re already sending back an Iranian refugee that the UN and Amnesty International both insist will be tortured and then executed once he arrives back in Iran.

    Elaboration: he participated in a failed coup attempt in the 80′s, and then got permanent residency here based on his refugee status. He was convicted of aggravated assault at some point, spent some time in jail, and is now being deported for ‘posing a danger to the general public’. Is he an idiot for beating his girlfriend? Yes. Do I think he deserves to be tortured and then executed for it? No. But apparently Stephen Harper thinks otherwise.

  7. #7 Prup aka Jim Benton
    March 27, 2006

    In the first place, there is a question if he will be released. And if he is, he doesn’t WANT to leave his homeland, or surrender custody of his kids, that’s why he started the suit that caused the trouble. (It reminds me of a story from the NWFP of Pakistan last fall, where a ‘religiously inspired’ mob attacked a video store, and the authorities forced the store owner — and all the other video stores in Bafour — to close down and go out of business, with no compensation. (Did they punish the mob, or the imams? What do you think.)

    It also should be noticed that in more ‘sophisticated’ countries like Jordan and Egypt, apostates don’t get a death penalty, merely a prison term and are forced to divorce their spouses. Mental Mayhem has a story on a case last year.
    http://www.natashatynes.com/mental_mayhem/religion/index.html

    (“Mental Mayhem” (Natasha Stynes) has a number of stories in this section worth checking out. She’s a Jordanian Arab and her blog covers Jordan and much of the middle east.)

  8. #8 Prup aka Jim Benton
    March 27, 2006

    Mech: Why are so many iranians being sent back? There was a big controversy a few weeks ago because the Netherlands was going to send back Iranian gays and Christians, despite the danger they would be in. The Minister relented on gays but not on Christians, last I heard.

  9. #9 Prup aka Jim Benton
    March 27, 2006

    Two quick things, re Mental Mayhem. Natasha is also Christian, and her ‘radio blog’ has a wonderful collection of music. Tears for Fears, Jimmy Buffet’s “Come Monday” (his best song) and “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” and much more. Why did she have to post her wedding pictures on the blog?

  10. #10 Erik H
    March 27, 2006

    Hmm.

    Anyone else ever wonder whether the international reaction would have been equivalent (or present at all) if Rahman had been a convert to a less “popular” religion? I’m thinking Judaism, Wiccan, Tibetan Buddhism, etc etc…. Something makes me wonder whether he’s the first convert in this sutation, or merely the first Christian one.

  11. #11 Mechanophile
    March 29, 2006

    Prup: I think there’s just been a backlash in the past little while against immigration in general, but the controversial ones are the ones we hear about in the news. Or at least, that seems to be the situation in Europe… I had thought Canada had avoided the whole immigration = evil thing, but then again, a substantial minority did elect our own bunch of Bush-lite idiots…

    Oh, and for an update, apparently Italy is considering offering him asylum (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4855220.stm) No juicy quotes from crazy religious fools in this article, though.

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