Thursday, March 23, 2006

Afghan Clerics Demand Death for Convert

Afghanistan makes Sam Harris' case. (See entry immediately below for Sam Harris' case.)

From Guardian Unlimited.
Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed. …

``Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die,'' said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001. …

Rice spokesman Sean McCormack said she told Karzai it is important for the Afghan people to know that freedom of religion is observed in their country. But in deference to the country's sovereignty, Rice evidently did not demand specifically that the trial be halted and the defendant released.

``This is clearly an Afghan decision,'' McCormack said. ``They are a sovereign country.''

Still, Rice's direct appeal to a foreign leader in a judicial proceeding in their own country is an unusual move. …

Diplomats have said the Afghan government is searching for a way to drop the case. On Wednesday, authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial.

But three Sunni preachers and a Shiite one interviewed by The Associated Press in four of Kabul's most popular mosques said they do not believe Rahman is insane.

``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. …

He said the only way for Rahman to survive would be for him to go into exile.

But Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country.

``If he is allowed to live in the West, then others will claim to be Christian so they can too,'' he said. ``We must set an example. ... He must be hanged.''
If Bush were capable of embarrassment, can you imagine how embarrassed we would be!

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