Afghanistan has a religion problem. In fact a great many Islamic countries have a religion problem. See in Islam there is the concept that "there is no compulsion in Islam." Unfortunately, that message doesn't appear to be understood by a great deal of Muslims or it is super-ceded by the command that those who reject Islam are Apostate and should be killed. And so we find another ex-Muslim being charged with Apostasy and facing a death penalty. I won't hold my breath waiting for the Islamic world to send troops to Afghanistan to rescue this man. I won't hold my breath waiting for Afghan embassies (if there are any) to be burned to the ground. I won't hold my breath waiting for a boycott on Afghan goods (that's right they have no goods on the world market except poppy). No I will pray that the judge in this case has better sense than the people that reported this unfortunate soul.
I have heard commentators say that if the man recants he would be spared. Or if he is found to be insane (which I think is the most likely outcome as it saves face) he can avoid the death sentence. I hope that he does not recant. I hope that if any attempt is made to declare him insane that he loudly protests and affirms his sanity. It is the right of any person to freely choose to believe or not to believe whatever he or she wants. It is weak minded and weak faithed men and women who need to kill people who question religion.
Secondly, I am appalled that my taxes are going to support this regime. Anyone who has children or relatives in afghanistan for military service ought to be outraged that this event is even happening while their loved ones lives are on the line.
Edit: 2:37 PM
I hadn't read the entire NY Times piece but I got to post that stuff here:
Rahman had ''committed the greatest sin'' by converting to Christianity and deserved to be killed, cleric Abdul Raoulf said in a sermon Friday at Herati Mosque.
''God's way is the right way, and this man whose name is Abdul Rahman is an apostate,'' he told about 150 worshippers.
Another cleric, Ayatullah Asife Muhseni, told a gathering of preachers and intellectuals at a Kabul hotel that the Afghan president had no right to overturn the punishment of an apostate.
He also demanded that clerics be able to question Rahman in jail to discover why he had converted to Christianity. He suggested it could have been the result of a conspiracy by Western nations or Jews.
At a fruit market in Kabul, many ordinary Afghans said they supported the death penalty, but some wanted more investigation before meting out the punishment.
''In the past 30 years, so many Afghans have been killed in name of communism, Taliban and politics or for robbery. It's enough Afghans killed,'' said Ghulam Mohammed, 45, a former army officer. Clerics should talk to him (Rahman) and bring him to the right way.''
I got nothing else to say. The quote speaks for itself.
update: 3-27-2006: Apparently the Afghan court has decided that Rahman is insane and that there isn't enough evidence to prosecute him. This represents the expected cop-out predicted. Apparently Rahman will be effectively deported to spare his life from maniacal Imams and others in his country.
This whole thing got me to thinking about a post over at Planet Grenada that discussed a Latina who had converted to Islam after becoming unsatisfied with her life and her Catholic upbringing. I bet she never even had to think that she would be killed for such a conversion. Yet she now faces the very real possibility that should she change faiths again she could very well be killed, especially if she leaves the country.