Mark Steyn wrote in OC Register Fate conspires to remind us what this war is really about: civilizational confidence. And so history repeats itself: first the farce of the Danish cartoons, and now the tragedy - a man on trial for his life in post-Taliban Afghanistan because he has committed the crime of converting to Christianity. The cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were deeply offensive to Muslims, and so thousands protested around the world in the usual restrained manner - rioting, torching, killing, etc. The impending execution of Abdul Rahman for embracing Christianity is, of course, offensive to Westerners,
That is right, and we should respond, not by rioting, torching, and killing, but by pulling our military out, and let the Muslims riot, torch, and kill themselves.and so around the world we reacted equally violently by issuing blood-curdling threats like that made by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: "Freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy," he said. "And these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly."
The immediate problem for Abdul Rahman is whether he'll get the chance to "mature" along with Afghan democracy. The president, the Canadian prime minister and the Australian prime minister have all made statements of concern about his fate, and it seems clear that Afghanistan's dapper leader, Hamid Karzai, would like to resolve this issue before his fledgling democracy gets a reputation as just another barbarous Islamist sewer state. There's talk of various artful compromises, such as Rahman being declared unfit to stand trial by reason of insanity on the grounds that (I'm no Islamic jurist so I'm paraphrasing here) anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity must, ipso facto, be nuts.
On the other hand, this "moderate" compromise solution is being rejected by leading theologians. "We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," says Abdul Raoulf of the nation's principal Muslim body, the Afghan Ulama Council. "Cut off his head! We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left." Needless to say, Imam Raoulf is one of Afghanistan's leading "moderate" clerics.
Imam Raoulf should read the Qu'ran: Surah 88:21-22 says “And so, (O Prophet!) exhort them, your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.”For what it's worth, I'm with the Afghan Ulama Council in objecting to the insanity defense. It's not enough for Abdul Rahman to get off on a technicality.
I agree.Afghanistan is supposed to be "the good war," the one even the French supported, albeit notionally and mostly retrospectively. Karzai is kept alive by a bodyguard of foreigners. The fragile Afghan state is protected by American, British, Canadian, Australian, Italian and other troops, hundreds of whom have died. You cannot ask Americans or Britons to expend blood and treasure to build a society in which a man can be executed for his choice of religion. You cannot tell a Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar that he, as a Christian, must sacrifice his life to create a Muslim state in which his faith is a capital offense.
That is absolutely correct.....I can understand why the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would rather deal with this through back channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.
That is absolutely correct. There are aspects of our Holy Bible where slavery and other vile things are described, but we do not take the position that that is what God wants. God's wishes are clear when he specifically speaks to man, like in the Old Testament, when he handed down the Ten Commandments and the many things that His son Jesus said in the New Testament. There may be places in the Qu'ran that some Muslim clerics consider an order to kill people that leave the faith, but Surah 88:21-22 says “And so, (O Prophet!) exhort them, your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.” If even Muhammad himself was commanded not to carry out punishments on those who turned away from Islam, why do they think that Allah would want them to do it?What can we do? Should governments with troops in Afghanistan pass joint emergency legislation conferring their citizenship on this poor man and declaring him, as much as Karzai, under their protection?
No. He should remain an citizen of Afganistan, but if they decide to kill him, we should pack up our bags and leave.In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural: "You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
That is a very good point.India today is better off without suttee. If we shrink from the logic of that, then in Afghanistan and many places far closer to home the implications are, as the Prince of Wales would say, "ghastly."