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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Allies Indignant Over Afghan Trial of Christian

Abdul Rahman

Abdul Rahman, the Afghani who is facing the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has gained some support from Afghanistan's western allies. Following are quotes as reported by CNN

"We have underscored also to Foreign Minister Abdullah that we believe that tolerance and freedom of worship are important elements of any democracy," U.S. State Department spokesman Scott McCormack told reporters Tuesday. "We urge the Afghan government to conduct any legal proceedings in a transparent and fair manner."

Nicholas Burns, undersecretary for political affairs, said he understands the complexities of the case and promised the United States would respect Afghan sovereignty. However, he said, Afghans should be free to choose their own religion, and he believes the nation's constitution supports that.

"We hope the Afghan constitution is going to be upheld," Burns said. "If he has the right of freedom of religion, that ought to be respected."

Rep. Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, wrote a letter to Karzai asking him to intervene and uphold "core democratic principles and fundamental human rights."

"In a country where soldiers from all faiths, including Christianity, are dying in defense of your government, I find it outrageous that Mr. Rahman is being prosecuted and facing the death penalty for converting to Christianity," Lantos wrote.

The State Dept, statements are typically squishy. Our problem is we can't use a pullout as a threat because it would just give the country back to the Talaban. Some carrot and stick must be devised to bring home to the Afghanistan Government that we will not abide such barbarity. Rep. Lantos is exactly correct in accessing the obligation the Afghan Government owes to the west. The president of Afghanistan can intervene, and should, to stop the death penalty from being applied.

Moslem countries see no problem with a dual justice system, a national system that rules everyone and a separate Sharia system to regulate Moslems. The reason they see no hypocrisy in a constitution that guarantees religious freedom yet condemns a man to death for converting to a different religion from Islam is they have no trouble (sort of) with those who practice other religions so long as once one claims Islam as their religion they cannot ever change their mind because they are bound by Sharia Law from the moment they become Moslem, which includes birth.

Former Italian President Francesco Cossiga wrote a letter to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, urging him to withdraw Italian troops from Afghanistan unless Kabul guarantees Rahman's safety, Reuters reported.

"It is not acceptable that our soldiers should put themselves at risk or even sacrifice their lives for a fundamentalist, illiberal regime," Cossiga wrote.

With only 1775 troops stationed in Afghanistan the Italians can be more direct in their displeasure with this situation. Their pullout would be bad news to the Afghanistan government which is looking for NATO to take the lead in securing the county.

One German official promised to intervene if necessary. Another, Development Minister Heide Wieczorek-Zeul, said, "We will do everything possible to save the life of Abdul Rahman," according to Reuters.

The Germans with 2700 troops say they will do everything to stop this, but some specifics would be nice. We will probably not hear what those are until they are implemented, but you can be sure they have communicated them to the President.

Canada echoed that sentiment, saying human rights in Afghanistan was a top priority and that "Canada will continue to encourage the Afghan government to adhere to its human rights obligations," foreign ministry spokeswoman Pamela Greenwell told Reuters.

Canada has 2300 troops, but one can only guess at what "encourage the Afghan government" actually means.

If Afghanistan wants to join the civilized world this kind of thing can't persist. The problem however is the culture of Islamic society itself. It is this culture that brought the Talaban to power in the first place. When honor killing is considered justifiable there will be a clash with western morality. It is hard to say that we are not at war with Islam when Islam breeds such barbarity.



Anonymous Old 'n Cranky said...

>> Rep. Lantos is exactly correct in accessing the obligation the Afghan Government owes to the west<<

Here we go again. Its just plain naive to think that politicians, having been bought, will recognize that they have been bought and then stay bought. Even foregin politicians. Especially foreign politicains. Ours dont, why should theirs?

It even rubs against basic human nature to be gratefull or feel an obligation towards whose who have helped you. I mean look at the outpouring of gratitude by the world at large for all of the United States largesse. Overwhelming aint it?

Best case is that we can somehow get this poor guy out of Afghanistan alive.

12:19 PM  

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