Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Abdul Rahman, religious refugee

Abdul Rahman has turned up in Italy, which has granted him asylum.

I suppose we should be glad that he will live, instead of being executed by the Afghan government or lynched by people inspired by the bloodthirsty calls of Afghan judges, mullahs and legislators.

Of course, he now has to start his life over in a strange land. And -- coincidentally, of course -- the family members that turned him in will now get default custody of his children -- which, you may recall, is how this whole case got started.

Religious law leads to all sorts of stupid things, like this case of a man divorcing his wife while he slept. But what separates the Abdul Rahman case is the response. In the divorce case, everyone criticized the move; one Islamic scholar called the elders "totally ignorant." In the Rahman case, authority figures all across the country supported the concept of executing someone for their religious belief.

It's going to be real embarassing when the United States is forced to put Afghanistan and Iraq on its list of human rights violators.

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Blogger KnightErrant said...

It is only beginning. Reports are that Rahman's release has begun a pogrom against Christian converts in Afganistan.

3/30/2006 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is my understanding, based on a conversation with a Muslim Arab friend of mine, that Islam does not look askance on other faiths--including Christianity. Contrary to popular belief, the only "infidels" are those who have NO religious faith. So I don't understand why Afghan religious law would call for the execution of Rahman.
- Caracarn

3/30/2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

KnightErrant, thanks for the comment and the link. I've written another post discussing it.

Caracarn, as I understand it the Afghan law is based not on the Koran but on the reported sayings of Muhammad during his lifetime. It's kind of like the Torah and the Talmud in Judaism; they occasionally conflict. Or consider what Christianity would be like if the more barbaric parts of the Old Testament still held sway.

And the crime isn't being Christian; it's converting away from Islam.

Doesn't make it acceptable, of course.

3/30/2006 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, that makes sense...they have a system of law based not strictly on the Koran, but selective soundbytes. And yes, I was wondering whether the crime was being Christian or converting to it from Islam. Thanks.
I wonder what the Koran actually says about converting away from Islam. Not that I support any kind of law system based on religion.
- Caracarn

3/30/2006 11:04 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Here's a story from the Christian Science Monitor that covers the issue pretty well.

A quote:

Most mainstream schools of Islamic jurisprudence call for converts to be executed. Though the Koran promises only hellfire for apostates and also says "there should be no compunction in religion,'' Islamic jurists have typically argued that execution is mandated, citing stories of comments made by the prophet Muhammad.

"The prophet Muhammad said that anyone who rejects Islam for another religion should be executed," said Mr. Mawlavezada, the judge.

Though some liberal Islamic scholars disagree, pointing out that no such rule exists in the Koran, they have been largely silenced in Afghanistan. Last year, Afghan writer Ali Mohaqeq Nasab spent almost three months in jail last autumn for an article questioning the traditional call for execution.

3/30/2006 11:48 AM  

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