From the AP:
An Afghan man facing a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity may be mentally unfit to stand trial, a state prosecutor said Wednesday. Abdul Rahman, 41, has been charged with rejecting Islam, a crime under this country's Islamic laws. His trial started last week and he confessed to becoming a Christian 16 years ago. If convicted, he could be executed.
Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death. The state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has called for Rahman to be punished, arguing he clearly violated Islamic law.
The case has received widespread attention in Afghanistan where many people are demanding Rahman be severely punished.
"For 30 years, we have fought religious wars in this country and there is no way we are going to allow an Afghan to insult us by becoming Christian," said Mohammed Jan, 38, who lives opposite Rahman's father, Abdul Manan, in Kabul. "This has brought so much shame."
Ok, I guess I’ve never been big on the whole international news thing, and really only focus on it in terms of how things relate to domestic news and, even then, only in how they relate to politics; but how long has this Shariah law thing been in effect? Afghanistan set-up a constitution that institutes the death penalty for Muslim Christian converts??? Holy shit! For all Bush’s talk of Peeance Freeance, this is news to me. I imagine that this is probably news to a lot of Bush’s evangelical supporters who probably imagined that this invasion of Muslim countries would at least open them up to Christian missionary work. And what the hell is wrong with Democrats that the religious right hasn’t already been frothing about this since it became law?
And hell, when I first saw the headline, I had at least assumed that this was some recent conversion in Afghanistan. But according to the story, he converted in Pakistan sixteen years ago, moved to Germany for nine fucking years, and only moved back to Afghanistan after we invaded the country. You know, when we helped kick-out fanatical religious intolerance. He was arrested when police found his bible during a child custody dispute. They say they’ll save his life if he converts back to Islam, but he won’t do it. Again, this really kind of puts a crimp on the whole missionary thing, doesn’t it?
And let’s not forget that his best defense is supposedly an insanity plea. Which, under the circumstances, is not entirely unwarranted. I mean, I guess I’ve never been big on the whole religion thing, so I guess I don’t really understand; but isn’t it a tad bit insane to not just lie about the whole religious conversion thing and then leave the country? By modern standards, isn’t this crazy stuff?
But let’s not forget that this insanity thing is probably the best bet for saving the Bush Admin, which apparently issued a “subdued appeal” to allow Rahman to practice his faith. But they’re really in a sticky place that they somehow failed to imagine back when the neo-cons were still smoking those democracy-flavored crackpipes. I mean, what if the Muslims want to squander their freedom by not doing exactly what we want them to? Then what? Was it that they were so stupid that they imagined that democracy could only bring exactly what we want? Or were they foolish enough to believe that they could always pick the Muslim leadership and influence their politics? Whatever it was, it was dumb. And hell, I wasn’t even against the Afghan invasion, but I really don’t see how the evangelical Christians are going to sit well with this one. Bush’s only hope is either the weak insanity plea or that more people don’t hear about this. And while I fully support that first option, Dems would be fools to allow the second.