Here is an update on Abdul Rahman, the Christan in Afghanistan who is facing the death penalty for his beliefs (see my earlier post). According to a high government official, the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is intervening in the case, and supposedly a deal will be reached in the next few days.
That is nice to know, considering that the Afghanistan Constitution states that while "the religion of the state... is... Islam", "followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites" (Chapter 1, Article 2). In addition the Preamble to that constitution states that the people of Afghanistan respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That Declaration is even more clear on the fact that each person has a right to believe and follow their religion of choice:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. (Article 18)
The very least Karzai can do is ensure that his government follows its own laws. Rahman changed religions in another country, not in Afghanistan, and he was not engaged in evangelism. His basic human rights are being denied him, and it is the responsibility of the Afghan government to prevent him from being executed for his beliefs.
I hope Karzai does the right thing, but to be honest, I am skeptical. If Rahman does get released, it would behoove him to seek sanctuary in the U.S. or another more forward-thinking country. If not, I suspect that he will be killed in no time for his beliefs and that the murdurers will be let off the hook. I hope I'm wrong on that...
By the way, anyone who thinks that the new government in Iraq can't go the same way is fooling themselves. Look at the Middle East and tell me how many free countries are there, countries not run or primarily influenced by Sharia law. One. Only one. Israel.
In other news, the leading Muslim imams are denouncing Rahman as an apostate and calling for his murder:
Rahman had "committed the greatest sin" by converting to Christianity and deserved to be killed, cleric Abdul Raoulf said in a sermon Friday at Herati Mosque.
"God's way is the right way, and this man whose name is Abdul Rahman is an apostate," he told about 150 worshippers.
Another cleric, Ayatullah Asife Muhseni, told a gathering of preachers and intellectuals at a Kabul hotel that the Afghan president had no right to overturn the punishment of an apostate.
He also demanded that clerics be able to question Rahman in jail to discover why he had converted to Christianity. He suggested it could have been the result of a conspiracy by Western nations or Jews. (emphasis mine)
So, let me get this straight.... Islam is right, every other religion is wrong, and Muslims have the right to kill anyone who is not Muslim based on that fact.... Oh, and this whole Rahman thing is part of the worldwide Jewish conspiracy.... That sounds like something Mohammed would say. Oh, he did (9.29-33)...
UPDATE: Looks like the case against Rahman has been dismissed "because of lack of evidence". The prosecutor will have another chance, though, if he collects enough information. Get out of there, Rahman!