March 23, 2006
Bush Finally Comments On Abdul Rahman - But Clerics Still Want Him Dead (Updated)
Yesterday, it began to appear that Afghanistan was looking for a way out of the international furor over the trial of Abdul Rahman who could face execution for converting from Islam, when the AP reporting that a prosecutor said Rahman was unfit for trial - after all, you must be crazy to leave Islam, right?
"We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn't talk like a normal person," said the prosecutor, Sarinwal Zamari, while the AP also quoted a religious adviser to President Hamid Karzai as saying that Mr. Rahman will have an exam and that if he is deemed unfit, the case against him would be dropped.While the U.S. State Department has been largely silent and essentially useless in speaking out to save him, President Bush has now finally spoken out, saying that we've got influence in Afghanistan, and that we are going to use it to remind them that there are (such things as) universal values."
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday said that he understood American concerns but that the matterwas a legal one and the government "has nothing to do with it."
Prosecutors said the case against Mr. Rahman would be dropped if he converted back to Islam, but he has refused. The state-sponsored Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has said Mr. Rahman violated Islamic law by converting to another religion and should be punished.
The trial has become a cause for Christians worldwide and for conservative groups in the United States, who demanded that the U.S. government intervene.
Although his comments are welcomed, they're not enough - much more is needed and the pressure on Afghanistan needs to be continued. Although diplomats say the Afghan government is searching for a way to drop the case, four senior clerics interviewed by The Associated Press in their mosques in Kabul said Rahman deserved to be killed for his conversion:
"He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian," said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque."Cut off his head" for converting to Islam? And that's coming from a "moderate" cleric! In other words, Abdul Rahman is far from being "out of the woods" in terms of having his life spared. And even if he does survive the Muslim clerics and the Islamic court, he's likely to be killed if he stays in Afghanistan, anyway.
"The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed."
"He is not mad. The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled," said Abdul Raoulf, cleric at Herati Mosque. "This is humiliating for Islam. ... Cut off his head."
Raoulf is considered a moderate cleric in Afghanistan. He was jailed three times for criticizing the Taliban's policies before the hard-line regime was ousted by US-led forces in 2001.
Readers are encouraged to help by participating in one or more of the actions:
Please help save the life of Abdul Rahman. Call, email, and sign the petition. Then pass all this along to everyone you know throughout the world.
International Christian Concern, an interdenominational human rights organization based in Washington, has urged “all concerned parties to contact the Embassy of Afghanistan to express their opposition to this violation of freedom of conscience and urge the immediate acquittal of Abdul Rahman.”
The contact information is Embassy of Afghanistan, 2341 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone, (202) 483-6410; fax, (202) 483-6488; e-mail.
Call the White House: 202-456-1111
Call the State Department: 202-647-4000
Cross posted from Hyscience
Posted by Richard at March 23, 2006 8:57 PM