The case of the Christian convert under threat of execution in Afghanistan may be putting more cracks in the Bush base. For background, see Pamela Constable in today’s Washington Post:

The case of an Afghan man who could be prosecuted and even put to death for converting to Christianity has unleashed a blizzard of condemnation from the West this week and exposed a conflict in values between Afghanistan, a conservative Muslim country, and the foreign countries that have helped defend and rebuild it in the four years since the fall of the Taliban.

The case of Abdul Rahman, a longtime Christian convert who lived in Germany for years and was arrested last month in Kabul, has also highlighted the volatile debate within Afghanistan over the proper role of Islam in Afghan law and public policy as the country struggles to develop a democracy.

My understanding is that Rahman is not in trouble for being Christian, but for converting from Islam. I dimly remember hearing (in a seminar I attended years ago) that under traditional Sharia law, converting from Islam is punishable by death. It may be that the Afghan constitution doesn’t mind if people who have never been Muslims practice a religion other than Islam.

According to Constable, it appears at the moment that Rahman is unlikely to be tried or executed. However, at the New York Times Abdul Waheed Wafa writes that the judge in the case has vowed to resist international pressure when he makes his decision.

There’s no question that the execution of Rahman would be an atrocity. It would also likely stir up more anti-Islamic feeling in Europe and cause the Christian Right to re-evaluate our military adventures in the Middle East, which would be a disaster for the Bush Administration. I take it from the Wafa article that Condoleezza Rice is pulling every string she can pull to set Rahman free.

Word that the Afghani government — the one that the U.S. fought to establish — could execute someone for converting to Christianity hit the American religious Right like a ton of Bibles. Constable writes at WaPo:

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, complained in a letter to Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by radical Islamists who kill Christians? . . . Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes.”

Hasn’t someone explained to Mr. Perkins that that’s exactly what we’re doing in Iraq?

Wafa writes at the Times, “In the United States this week, Christian talk shows and advocacy groups rallied their supporters, who flooded the White House and the Afghanistan Embassy with complaints.”

Initial reaction from the Bush Administration was tepid, writes Constable:

On Tuesday, a State Department spokesman urged the Afghan government to “conduct any legal proceedings in a transparent and fair manner.” R. Nicholas Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, said that the Afghan constitution “affords freedom of religion to all Afghans” and that the U.S. government hoped for a “satisfactory result” of the case.

However, Judd at Think Progress says the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom repeatedly tried to warn the Bushies that the Afghan constitution amounted to “Taliban Lite.” The Bushies ignored them, until now. (Nobody could have anticipated that Afghan judges would adhere to Sharia law, even though the Afghan constitution says they can.)

Rightie bloggers are, of course, all a-twitter. “Where is the outrage from the Left?” says this one.

Oh, I dunno … maybe in the same place as the outrage from the Right on the death of Dilawar the cab driver.

But another had some pointed words for Republicans —

Also, I’d like to make a quick suggestion to Republicans: get on top of this story now. Not just because you should be anyway–obviously, it’s the right thing to do–but also because this story has the makings of another Dubai Ports World scandal written all over it. Fool me once. That’s all I have to say.

In other Christian news — you may remember Tom Fox, the Christian peace activist who was killed while being held hostage in Iraq. Today U.S. and British Thursday freed three more Christian peace activists.

You’d think the righties would be pleased that three Christians have been saved. Guess again.

The Christian peace activists are not “good” Christians because they don’t support the war (be sure to read the comments to the linked blog post, too. Verily I say unto thee, unless thou shalt support George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and vote Republican, thou shalt not be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven.).

Here’s my favorite blog post on the subject:

One would think that the military that saved these people would recieve a huge thank you, but their press release doesn’t even mention the rescue. They do take the time for mentioning how much they love the enemy however.

    Today, in the face of this joyful news, our faith compels us to love our enemies even when they have committed acts which caused great hardship to our friends and sorrow to their families.

That in itself can be viewed as an admiral conviction to their faith, even if misguided …

Got that? Jesus’s teachings are misguided.

Update: See also the Green Knight.

11 thoughts on “Misguided

  1. This story is just too outrageous. It shows how racist and discriminatory it still is over there. Hey lets outsource more American jobs to this country and others just like it. The Afghani man being prosecuted will most likely be sentenced to death based on the allegation of converting from Islam to Christianity. The Afghani courts back this up, the Afghani government backs this up, does America really want to send funding to a country whose administration allows this? How can anyone support a nation where it is a capital punishment crime to practice your religion of choice?

    Raymond B

  2. – Maha,

    As usual, you’re speaking words of wisdom: igniting forever the eternal fires of sectarian violence throughout the Middle-East and Central Asia was exactly what the pyromaniac Neocon Neros of Washington had in mind when they launched their attack on Afghanistan and Iraq, deliberately targeting the only secular republican regime of the Arab world (Tareq Aziz and most of the members of Saddam’s inner circle were actually Church-going Catholics…).

    French researcher Thierry Meyssan proved that the whole 9-11 circus was engineered by rogue rightwing operatives within the Pentagon and the office of the Vice-President- see link below:

    Washington’s response was ruthless: Professor Meyssan was banned from entering the US territory for fear of him telling the truth about the Rumsfeldcheneysharon conspiracy… so much for “freedom of speech”!

    Ironically, the storyline of September 11, 2001 echoes in many ways the plot of “The Long Kiss Goodnight” a 1996 action movie with Geena Davis and Samuel Jackson.
    In the movie, Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) discovers that her former boss at the Pentagon has allied with some US-trained terrorists in a plot to detonate a chemical bomb in New York, frame a moustached Arab for the crime and thus secure more funding for the Pentagon…

    Sounds familiar?

  3. I just want to go on record here — I try to be indulgent, but the whole “Bushies were behind 9/11” thing is nuts. Not because they wouldn’t have thought of doing such a thing, but because nobody within light years of the Bush Regime is competent enough to plan a Cub Scout meeting, never mind pull off 9/11.

    The WTC towers fell from the top down, not from implosion. WTC 7 fell because it burned for many hours with no attempt to put it out. An airplane hit the Pentagon. A bunch of Islamic whackjobs did this. These are facts.

  4. I really think this was done by cheney and Bush. That is why Bush did not wnt to leave the school. He knew what was happening.

  5. He knew what was happening.

    If Bush had known in advance he would have done a better job faking being brave and in charge. He wouldn’t have slipped into a coma for several minutes after he’d heard about the second plane. He wouldn’t have flitted around the country in Air Force One for the next several hours with no apparent idea what to do with himself.

    That being said, I think it’s possible the Bushies knew something was going to happen and chose not to stop it. But I think it’s obvious from their actions that the magnitude of 9/11 caught them off guard.

  6. “How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by radical Islamists who kill Christians? . . . Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes.”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (Taleban). If you think the Afghans are untrustworthy, ungrateful, intolerant christian killing fundies, wait for Iraq. In Afghanistan we’ve got former UNOCAL executive Karzai ‘in charge’, in Iraq it is a turban wearing Iranian backed Islamic Revolutionary Council guy.

  7. Interesting posts.The 9/11 conspiracy theories are gaining momentum, thanks to Alex Jones and Charlie Sheen.Most folks realize there are huge holes in the official 9/11 story, and eventually the whole truth may be revealed, but I must respect the wish of our host Maha, to not use her blog as a platform for manufactuting “tin foil hats”. There are plenty of blogs in cyberspace where such activity is expected and welcome.
    Now, to get back on track….
    I was wondering what Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or Franklin Graham would think to themselves if one of their “flock” were to convert to Islam. Would they want that person struck dead by God?
    In converastions with several acquaintances, I have been told the way to end “our” problems in the Middle East is simply to nuke the entire region. Brilliant! This is interesting because 2 of the people who said this are fundamentalist Christians and one is a reformed Jew. I am a 51 yr old former Catholic, now standing somewhere between atheism and leaning toward Buddism.The last 6 years seem like a twilight zone episode. Some how, the rules of physics and logic no longer apply, new “realities” are being created. I feel as if I’m standing on a far off mountain, watching our society marching off a cliff….When I try to warn friends and family, I’m greeted with hostility, but the hostility is now waning.
    Strangely, my religious epiphinany started with the movie “The Exorcist” in 1973. Being raised in the Catholic church, the movie scared the crap out of me. How fitting ,the demon Pazuzu of “The Exorcist” is rising in Babylon and threatining to wreak havoc throughout the region! I mean this in the “Poetic” sense of course.
    We are indeed cursed, living in “interesting times”.
    Militant Islam has replaced the “Godless” communists as the new enemy.The Mujahadeen, once supported and funded as a bulwark against Soviet expantionism in Afghanistan and utilized as a proxy force in the Balkans is the new enemy, allowing our bloated Military-Industrial complex to grow into a monster which will suck our budget to death, much like what happened to the Soviet Union.
    As this happens, Russia has become the world’s #2 exporter of crude oil, China is making plans for an elaborate system of mag-lev trains, and the first Harley- Davidson dearership in China is set to open in Beijing! Bush and his band of thugs have raised the debt ceiling and extended the Patriot Act. We will cut funding for social programs. How bizzare, how bizzare….
    Back in the U.S.A., all those overpaid UAW people are going to have to make some hard decisions, now that they are being bought out, and their future incomes slashed. The good people in Florida, already used to slave labor wages, are not concerned, not yet, not until they figure out that what bouys Floridas’ economy is the money spent on vacations by the UAW folks and their “overpaid” yankee friends.
    Floridians who were in a state of elation last year over the dramatic increase in property values, are wondering if this is a good thing. You can now purchase a tumble-down shack in a bad part of town for the bargan price of $150,000.00, such a deal!.
    The bad news is the tax bill will be quite larger, and insurance rates are going outta sight because of recent active hurricane seasons.
    The wack job that owns “Dominoes Pizza” has bought up a large tract of land East of Naples, Fl., formerly a combination of scrub and farmland, to build a Religious community dubbed “Ave Maria”
    Condoms will not be available for sale in the town, there will be no porn shops, and I suppose there will be a holy water font on every corner.
    Last night there was an interview on “HardBall” with a young Black man , a democrat from Tenessee, who wants to get Bill Frists’ seat, Mr. Frist wants a run at the Presidency…
    The young black man ( his name I don’t remember) has a T.V. commercial where he mentions “the terrorists”.
    Lets face it folks, next election we will be faced with a choice… Beef that tastes like chicken, or chicken that tastes like beef.
    A further expansion of the military- industrial complex to combat “terrorism” and make Israel safe, further dumbing down of society, and denial of the real perils of global warming and deminishing energy resources.The required invasion and occupations of Muslim countries in order to “liberate” “Spread democracy”, and Control the oil fields so they can’t aid “the Terrorists” with oil generated money. We are whistling past the graveyard……

  8. Regarding the Afghani convert to Christianity who is threatened by execution for his “crime,” I find it interesting and a bit curious that no one has come forward to argue that by the US “establishing” a democracy in Afghanistan, they are free to base their law on whatever they choose–that is the true meaning of democracy. Democracy is not, as described by Secretary of State Rice, based on freedom of religion. In fact, democracy has absolutely nothing to do with religion, per se. If the democratically elected and US-recognized government of Afghanistan created a constitution based on Islamic law, so be it. And if that constitution calls for the execution of someone who has broken their law, we can only express our disappointments and hopes that they can find a way to make their law more humane.

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