Afghanistan, Iraq: Freedom or Islam?

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006 10:55 am by Neal

(UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has posted a letter from a reader who called the Afghani embassy in Washington, DC. Read what transpired, and use the posted number to call the embassy.)


Houston, we have a problem.

There is reason to believe that Afghanistan and Iraq — the two countries that our fighting men and women liberated, 50 million newly freed people in all — will become little more than Islamic cesspools, ruled under sharia and devoid of democracy and human rights. I base this statement on current events:


As we reported yesterday, Afghani Abdul Rahman is facing death for the act of converting from Islam to Christianity. Here’s an update from the Chicago Tribune:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Abdul Rahman told his family he was a Christian. He told the neighbors, bringing shame upon his home. But then he told the police, and he could no longer be ignored.

Now, in a major test of Afghanistan’s fledgling court system, Rahman, 42, faces the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity. Prosecutors say he should die. So do his family, his jailers, even the judge. Rahman has no lawyer. Jail officials refused to let anyone see Rahman on Monday, despite permission granted by the country’s justice minister.

“We will cut him into little pieces,” said Hosnia Wafayosofi, who works at the jail, as she made a cutting motion with her hands. “There’s no need to see him.”

Rahman’s trial, which started Thursday, is thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan. It goes to the heart of the struggle between Islamic reformists and fundamentalists in the country, which is still recovering from 23 years of war and the harsh rule of the Taliban, a radical religious regime that fell in late 2001.

Even under the more moderate government now in power, Islamic law is supposed to be followed, and many believe it requires the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam for another religion.

“We are Muslim, our fathers were Muslim, our grandfathers were Muslim,” said Abdul Manan, Rahman’s father, who is 75. “This is an Islamic country. Imagine if your son told a police commander, also a Muslim, that he is a Christian. How would this affect you? It’s very difficult for us.”

On Thursday, the first day of the trial, Rahman appeared in court with no lawyer. Prosecutor Abdul Wasi said Rahman had been told repeatedly to repent and come back to Islam, but Rahman refused. Wasi called Rahman a traitor.

“He is known as a microbe in society, and he should be cut off and removed from the rest of Muslim society and should be killed,” Wasi told the court.

Rahman said he had surrendered himself to God. “I believe in the holy spirit,” he said. “I believe in Christ. And I am a Christian.”

Judge Ansarullah Mawlawizada, who is handling the case, said he normally takes two months to decide on cases. But because this case is so serious, he expected to hold another hearing within the next week and make a decision.

Mawlawizada, who kept Rahman’s green Bible on his desk, said he respected all religions. He emphasized that he did not favor the aggressiveness of the Taliban, who cut the hands and feet off criminals in a soccer stadium. But he said Rahman had to repent.

“If he doesn’t regret his conversion, the punishment will be enforced on him,” the judge said. “And the punishment is death.”

Michelle Malkin has an update including a link to a statement by the Family Research Council:

That there should even be such a trial is an outrage. How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by Islamists who kill Christians? Such a “trial” is a flagrant violation of Article 18 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights–which the current Afghan government even incorporated into its constitution. Article 18 reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” President Bush should immediately send Vice President Cheney or Secretary Rice to Kabul to read Hamid Kharzai’s government the riot act. Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes. Democracy is more than purple thumbs.

Things do not look good in Afghanistan. The bigger question is, “Can even basic human rights co-exist with sharia?” Every government based on Islamic law oppresses democracy, personal freedom and choice, and human rights recognized by Western cultures. Freedom and sharia are fundamentally incompatible.

Is this what our troops died for?


In Iraq we have one Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. National Review’s Andrew McCarthy yesterday had this piece, “Sistani and the Democracy Project” which shed new light on Sistani — “the supreme religious authority of Shiite Iraq, who has been lavished with praise here and elsewhere as a leading voice of Muslim moderation, perhaps even worthy of Nobel Peace Prize consideration.”

Uh oh. It appears that the Grand Ayatollah’s so-called “moderation” may have been a bit exaggerated.

A human-rights group in London which lobbies for homosexuals alleged last week that Sistani had held a press conference in which he’d issued a fatwa setting forth his judgment on gay sex. According to the group, Sistani pronounced that the conduct was “forbidden” and that those who engage in it should be “punished, in fact, killed. The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”

The allegation has been double-checked and verified. This is strike two against Sistani. McCarthy reported strike one a couple of weeks ago:

Sistani’s stated view [is] that non-Muslims should be considered in the same category as “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors, and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats [unclean things].”

Sistani has taken a page from Yasser Arafat’s playbook: “shielding gullible Westerners with whom one is ingratiating oneself from some of the more alarming things one says to Arabic-speaking audiences.” Please read McCarthy’s entire article. He makes some excellent points about Sistani, concluding with this sobering assessment:

What is dangerously naïve is to conflate two very different, and at times contradictory, goals of American foreign policy: opposition to terrorism and democratic reform in Muslim countries. Let’s say one is inclined to suspend disbelief and regard as an “ally” in the struggle against Islamist terrorism someone whose profoundly influential views actually bolster core conceits of the jihadists. That would still not make Sistani an ally in the related but distinct project to build a democracy recognizable as such.

The only democracy the United States should be building is one based on liberty, equality, the inherent dignity of all human beings, and the conviction that authority to rule is reposed in the people rather than in some external theological or political force. That, surely, is the democracy of President Bush’s soaring rhetoric, if not his administration’s on-the-ground practice. If we are going to sacrifice American blood and treasure on this project, that better be what we are sacrificing them for.

That project calls for a very long-term cultural evolution, one that may take decades if it can happen at all. It is not achieved by a mere election or two’s being given the green-light by a savvy Shiite imam — one who can count, and who sees Shiites outnumbering everyone else by about two-to-one. It is not achieved by a celebrated constitution’s being given the green-light by such an imam only after Islam has been installed as the official state religion and the sharia made a primary source of fundamental law.

To believe Sistani is an ally in that project is to hallucinate.

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