Author Topic: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity  (Read 12666 times)

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Offline Kasanika

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #50 on: March 26, 2006, 19:34:22 »
Here's what I don't get. This is an excerpt from the Afghanistan constitution:
Quote
Article Seven Ch. 1, Art. 7

The state shall abide by the UN charter, international treaties, international conventions that Afghanistan has signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(Italics added for emphasis)
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Quote
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.

(Italics added for emphasis)
The constitution doesn't say every Islamic law must be adopted as Afghan law, but it does say
Quote
Article Three Ch. 1, Art. 3

In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.
I don't think that the absence of a law against apostasy would contravene  Article Three Ch. 1, Art. 3, but I do think having a law against apostasy definitely violates Article Seven Ch. 1, Art. 7. Now I'm no expert on Afghan Constitutional law, but I don't think the law against apostasy would survive a constitutional challenge. I wonder if Abdul Rahman or his legal team have considered this course of action.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #51 on: March 27, 2006, 13:03:48 »
Some interesting comments from David Frum:

http://frum.nationalreview.com/

Quote
MAR. 23, 2006: WHOOPS
Yesterday, the Council on American Islamic Relations added its voice to those condemning the death sentence upon Abdul Rahman, the Afghan man who converted to Christianity. The Canadian Islamic Congress chimed in today, making a fascinating little slip along the way:

"Afghanistan is not a free country. Maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the occupation forces, who must not turn a blind eye to this kind of injustice. To allow this man to be tried and possibly executed for a non-criminal, non-blasphemous act, and then blame Islam and Muslims worldwide, is totally unacceptable."

(Italics added.)

If I read this right, one of Canada's two most visible Muslim groups is suggesting that while the death penalty for conversion from Islam is unacceptable, the death penalty for blasphemy remains good practice. Canadian cartoonists: You are warned!

and:

Quote
MAR. 22, 2006: VOICES OF TOLERANCE

D.J. McGuire of the indispensable China e-Lobby draws attention to another Muslim group that came out early for tolerance in Afghanistan: the government in exile of East Turkistan, now under Chinese rule.

"The people of East Turkistan have suffered open-air nuclear tests, razed mosques, the killing of political prisoners, and mass cultural extermination. As part of this attempt to wipe out East Turkistani culture, its religions have been bastardized by the Chinese Communist Party. Churches and mosques have been attacked, and believers of Christianity and Islam have been persecuted.

"This is why we must ask Afghanistan to end its persecution of Christians, especially, Mr. Abdul Rahman.

"Under the Constitution of East Turkistan, Christians have a right to practice their faith unfettered by government interference. Had Mr. Rahman converted to Christianity in an independent East Turkistan, he would not be suffering the burden of a trial and possible execution, for he truly committed no crime.

"The East Turkistan Government in exile hereby asks Afghanistan to end its persecution of Mr. Rahman and re-examine its commitment to 'Islamic law.' As a fellow Central Asia nation where the majority follows Islam, we wish to remind our Afghan friends that true religious faith comes from personal enlightenment, not fearful submission to earthly governments. A government that claims to speak for God is usually arrogant enough to ignore God."



Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline MountainRunner

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2006, 16:00:04 »
a_majoor:  Very interesting post from those sources.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2006, 19:38:03 »
>Anyone who wishes to sustain and promote non-Islamic values must quarantine Islam.

>This is a very loaded statement.  I would almost say inflammatory.  However, in era of learning, can you provide
source for this information because I could find a few Iman's who would disagree.

The meaning of "quarantine" I intended is "restrained" or "placed in isolation".

I assert that Islam (the religion) recognizes only one word of God (the Koran) which is itself immutable by definition (unless God revises or extends it) although subject to interpretation, and one body of law derived from that (Shari'a).  Is that in dispute in any way?  Both are, by arrogation, respectively to be held supreme above all other teachings and all other law.  There may be interpretational variations of Shari'a, but the basic point that Shari'a is pre-eminent over other law (religious or not) remains.  For any conflict of values or laws, there can not be a reconciliation of one with another unless one is subordinated (submits) to the other.  Islam, again by definition, only permits one direction of subordination.  By definition, any values and laws inconsistent with the Koran (the teachings) and Shari'a (the law) are inconsistent with Islam (the religion). 

Therefore, if one wishes merely to sustain values inconsistent with Islam (which is what I mean by non-Islamic) one must restrain Islam or isolate it.  If one wishes to promote values inconsistent with Islam, one must roll back the spiritual and physical frontiers of Islam.

This is, I believe, the essence of what is meant by the terms "dar al-Islam" and "dar al-Harb" (house of Submission and house of War as popularly translated).  I believe the common translation "house of War" to be ill-conceived.  A better rendition would be "house of Struggle", in both the spiritual and physical sense.  With regard to "loaded" or "inflammatory" statements, I have simply stated the obvious - from the Islamic viewpoint, there are only those who have submitted and those in whom the struggle for submission still rages.  Unless and until every Muslim regards the struggle as a purely spiritual one in which judgement and punishment are wholly reserved to God and the only tools of mortals should be rational persuasion of moral agents of free will, the struggle may spill over into war.  It is that collective epiphany which will (if it ever happens) mark a true Reformation of Islam which will allow it to co-exist (ie. without physical conflict) with other religious and cultural value systems in the world.
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Offline SweetNavyJustice

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #54 on: March 28, 2006, 19:10:42 »
It looks like Mr. Rahman has been freed.

http://www.torontosun.com/News/World/2006/03/28/1509692.html


Offline Octavianus

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #55 on: March 29, 2006, 09:32:52 »
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&pubid=968163964505&cid=1143633246849&col=968705899037&call_page=TS_News&call_pageid=968332188492&call_pagepath=News/News

Afghanistan seeks to bar convert's departure
Italy has offered asylum to Abdul Rahman
Mar. 29, 2006. 08:16 AM

KABUL (AP) — Afghanistan's parliament demanded Wednesday that the government prevent a man who faced the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity from being able to flee the country.

Abdul Rahman was released from prison Monday after a court dropped charges of apostasy against him because of a lack of evidence and suspicions he may be mentally ill. His whereabouts are unknown but he likely is still in the country.

Italy offered to grant Rahman asylum after Muslim clerics called for his death.

"We sent a letter and called the Interior Ministry and demanded they not allow Abdul Rahman to leave the country," parliamentary speaker Yunus Qanooni told reporters.

Legislators spent the day debating the issue but did not take a formal vote on it. Qanooni was, however, speaking on behalf of the entire parliament.

Earlier in Rome on Wednesday, Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Italy would be happy to give asylum to the "courageous" Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting to Christianity.

"I say that we are very glad to be able to welcome someone who has been so courageous," Berlusconi said, when asked by Associated Press Television News about the possibility of asylum for the man.

The premier spoke ahead of a cabinet meeting in which the government was widely expected to grant asylum.


Anyone have any ideas as to why they do not want him to leave A-stan????
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #56 on: March 29, 2006, 10:24:29 »
Quote

Anyone have any ideas as to why they do not want him to leave A-stan????

I suspect it has something to do with an axe and a tree stump.
Living the lean life.

Offline Kid_Recruit

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2006, 07:34:01 »
That is quite unfortunate, I hope he makes it out alive  :salute:

 :threat: THE KID  :threat:

Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #58 on: April 02, 2006, 09:12:21 »
uhm,

"The Kid"  you know he is living in a secret villa in Italy, under 24 hour protection right?

 :mg:    :salute: ;) :salute: :fifty:

dileas

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Offline Kid_Recruit

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #59 on: April 02, 2006, 20:10:18 »
well that's not me as you can plainly see. I am Sorry for the mix up :salute:

 :threat: THE KID  :threat:

Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #60 on: April 02, 2006, 21:05:57 »
well that's not me as you can plainly see. I am Sorry for the mix up :salute:

 :threat: THE KID  :threat:

Sorry for the mixup....What in the name of jeebuss are you talking about?

I think the smileys are confusing you, or maybe the hood is covering up too much of your view of the screen.

dileas

tess

I know that I’m not perfect and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers make sure your hands are clean.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #61 on: April 03, 2006, 09:00:09 »
Here is an interesting piece by Matthew Fisher from today’s National Post which helps illustrate the point I was trying to make at: http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,41171.msg356983.html#msg356983 and elsewhere in the Political forum.  It is reproduced here under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=0fa19f92-d872-42b0-87a7-3da48301c84c
Quote
Afghan Christian convert furor illustrates cultural divide
Disconnect on ideas of honour, violence, status of women

Matthew Fisher
National Post

Monday, April 03, 2006

JERUSALEM - After pressure from the West, Abdul Rahman was suddenly set free by the Afghan government last week and is now creating a new life for himself in Italy.

But the threat to stone to death or behead anyone in Afghanistan who converts from Islam to Christianity remains because the shariah laws that would have condemned Rahman to death for apostasy are still on the books.

No surveys have been conducted but such zealotry is supported by almost every Afghan adult male that I have met during many visits to that country.

Nevertheless, a solid majority of Afghans have demonstrated in several elections that they backed Western aid and the presence of coalition troops, including those from Canada, in their tragic, war-ravaged and mostly medieval country. This salient fact and Rahman's happy fate may make it is a little easier for Canada's battle group in southeastern Afghanistan to continue its dangerous mission.

But the Rahman incident, the extreme passions it aroused in Afghanistan and the West, and suggestions that the only legal way to save his neck might have been to claim that he was certifiably crazy for wanting to be a Christian, illustrates a huge, probably unbridgeable gap between the cultural values and norms of Afghanistan and those who have come in good faith to try to help them.

It also begs the larger question of whether Western values will ever truly find even a small place in the hearts of Afghans.

Afghanistan is obviously a special case. The Islam that is practised there is steeped in tribalism and is particularly conservative.

But such sentiments are not unique to Afghanistan. They can be easily found in countries such as Pakistan and Iraq and in Gaza and the allegedly moderate and permissive West Bank.

Three subjects that seem to most highlight the profound disconnect between Islamic and Western ideas are honour, violence and the status of women.

There was an interpreter in Baghdad who seemed like a totally Westernized guy. A genial wizard with cellphones and computers, he mixed freely with the foreign press corps, talking at length and in nearly perfect English about how much he enjoyed his graduate studies in Britain, fondly recalling his old girlfriends in Manchester and the bars and nightclubs that were their favourite haunts.

So it came as a shock when he told a group of reporters that if he ever saw his mother or sister speaking with a man whom he didn't know, he would kill them in a second.

When his audience objected, he laughed dismissively.

Such honour killings were done out of love. The very threat of them protected women from dangerous approaches and prevented harm to a family's reputation.

Westerners were to be pitied for not caring enough about their womenfolk.

A young man from Afghanistan -- studying to be a doctor in Pakistan and who hopes to emigrate to the West, where several siblings were already practising medicine -- had been repeatedly forced by the Taliban to go to a football stadium in Kabul to witness the execution of people convicted of crimes such as rape and adultery and the severing of limbs and whippings of petty thieves and those caught drinking alcohol or not praying five times a day.

As this fellow was known to be a fierce opponent of the Taliban, it might have been expected that he would condemn such extreme practices. But no. Such punishments were among the very few good things the Taliban had done.

A man in the West Bank sporting the full beard of a pious Muslim suggested to a visitor recently that he should embrace Islam because it was the most peace-loving and fair religion. When this assertion was challenged with eyewitness accounts of suicide bombings against Jews, Christians and Muslims and of mullahs advocating such attacks at Friday prayers, the man said there was no contradiction. Such attacks were justified whenever Islam was threatened by those who did not practise it or did not practise it in the right way.

We keep being reminded that we must not generalize, that millions of Muslims do not hold such harsh views. But millions of other Muslims do.

Honour killings remain commonplace in Western-friendly countries such as Jordan and clerics incite the faithful to violence even in Britain and the United States.

Tellingly, there was virtually no cries of protest from anywhere across the Islamic world when mobs in Afghanistan bayed for Abdul Rahman's blood for daring to embrace Christianity.

© National Post 2006

Caveat lector: I am not an expect, not even especially knowledgeable about Islam and its values – nor of Christendom and its values, come to that and I am happy to be corrected by those who know more and better.  I have seen, heard and experienced things similar to those Fisher describes in the Middle East, North Africa and West Asia and I have heard similar things from Arab and Muslim colleagues here in Canada.  (I draw the distinction because an Arab Christian colleague told me some pretty hair-raising stories about her homeland.)

Fisher makes an important point: Afghanistan is a very conservative, tribal society.  Afghanis appear to place great stock in their traditional social/cultural values.

At the risk of repeating myself: I think most Afghanis, most Central Asians, most people throughout the great Islamic Crescent which stretches from Morocco to Indonesia want some form of democracy – they want to select their own leaders, people who represent their values.  Left to their own devices, I think, many – especially in North Africa, the Middle East and west Asia will elect Islamic theocracies which will, with overwhelming public support, enact constitutions based upon ShariaI believe that if we really believe in self determination and Afghanistan for the Afghans, etc then we had better be prepared for wall to wall Hamas throughout much of the Crescent.  If we get there then I think we will be smack in the middle of Sam Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and I expect that many, many millions of Arabs/Muslims will have to die before we disabuse them of the idea that they have a right or duty to defend Islam by attacking others.

Reformation needs to come first – Islam needs to be separated from its medieval Arabic cultural roots, just as part of Christianity was separated from its 2,000 year old Eastern Mediterranean cultural roots.  Reformation should lead to an Enlightenment which should provide the sorts of societies which will be able to coexist with liberal, secular Western and conservative, secular East Asian societies.  Reformation and Enlightenment must, probably, happen one before the other and each is, also probably, the work of a generation or two.  The former will, probably again, require a lot of internecine violence and bloodshed amongst the Muslims.

In any event, I believe that those who think we are going to introduce anything like a modern, secular, liberal democracy any time soon and anywhere West of Malaysia are fools.  If that’s why someone sent Canadian troops to Afghanistan then they sent them on a fool’s errand.  We can help whatever form of government can capture the allegiance of most Afghans achieve a measure of peace and stability.  We can, temporarily, impose a few more or less liberal, secular values on parts of the society and then hope that they take root and expand. 

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline CheersShag

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Re: Afghan man faces death penalty for converting to Christianity
« Reply #62 on: April 03, 2006, 12:50:41 »
Quote
Reformation needs to come first – Islam needs to be separated from its medieval Arabic cultural roots, just as part of Christianity was separated from its 2,000 year old Eastern Mediterranean cultural roots.  Reformation should lead to an Enlightenment which should provide the sorts of societies which will be able to coexist with liberal, secular Western and conservative, secular East Asian societies.  Reformation and Enlightenment must, probably, happen one before the other and each is, also probably, the work of a generation or two.  The former will, probably again, require a lot of internecine violence and bloodshed amongst the Muslims.

I don't jump in much these days, but I'd like to support Edward on this point.
Coming from the background and seeing the culture from the inside I've grown disillusioned with much of what Muslim's say today(I'd probably be killed if I lived in Afghanistan myself, though I haven't converted I have certainly lapsed well into my own religion of sorts)

There is an intellectual death right now amongst Muslims, there are limited schools of thought which is upsetting because as recently as a hundred years ago there were hundreds of different approaches (orthodox, conservative, liberal, esoteric etc.) but , I call this intellectual death because at one point it was alive, Sufism is a product of intellectual freedom.

As such I hope for an intellectual reformation in Islam, I believe it is very possible to reconcile Islam and modernity I see it every day, but it will take time and alot of growing pains.