Monday, March 20, 2006

And They Said The Taliban Were Bad

ABC News reports that an Afghani faces the death penalty for the unthinkable crime of converting from Islam to Christianity. The man was found with a Bible. But there's hope for the guy according to the judge--he could be found insane and be spared the death penalty. "We want to know that the doctors have given him a green light on his mental state, because he is not normal when he talks," says the judge. ABC News reports:

Abdul Rahman, who is in his 40s, says he converted to Christianity 16 years ago while working as an aid worker helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Relatives denounced him as a convert during a custody battle over his children, and he was arrested last month. The prosecutor says Rahman was found with a Bible.

Our State Department is watching the case closely according to ABC News and considers it "a barometer of how well democracy is developing in Afghanistan." "Our view … is that tolerance, freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "And these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly."

So what's wrong here? You all thought that Afghanistan had just adopted a new constitution which ensures basic freedoms, including the freedom to worship the religion of your choosing, and that it had just conducted democratic elections. That's true, but there's a hitch--a big hitch. Islam is the recognized religion of Afghanistan, and Islamic law trumps the civil laws, making the individual rights provided under the constitution meaningless. In other words, true religious freedom, or any First Amendment rights we enjoy in this country, are non-existent in Afghanistan.

So what the hell are our soldiers fighting and dying for in Afghanistan and Iraq? It sure isn't the freedom and democracy we understand and appreciate.

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