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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Afgan Man Disappears After Jail Release

In what was illustrative of the harshness of Muslim law, a man was sentenced to death for conversion to Christianity.

This is how it all began according to Yahoo News:

"Rahman's ordeal began as a custody dispute over his two daughters, now 13 and 14. The girls had lived with their grandparents their whole lives but Rahman sought custody when he returned to Afghanistan in 2002 after living in Germany for nine years. A custody battle ensued and the matter was taken to police."

"During questioning, it emerged that Rahman was a Christian and was carrying a Bible. He was immediately arrested and charged."

After an international outcry, and Rahman claiming insanity for his conversion. Rahman was released but promptly disappeared. There are calls through Afghanistan from the clerics that Rahman should be found and killed. And there are many reactionary statements like this one:

"This is a betrayal of Islam and the entire Afghan nation by our government," said Hamiddullah, a senior cleric in Kabul. "This will have very dangerous consequences for the government. Muslim leaders will react very strongly."

In this enviroment, Rahman's chances of survial on the streets of Afganistan are in doubt. The Italian government is planning to whisk Rahman away. And it is likely that is the reason for his disappearance.

In the picture above provided by Reuters, is the evidence of Rahman's guilt, the Bible that he was carrying. While this example shows the severity of Sharia law; death for conversion, it is but one example of the intolerance of Sharia law. Sharia law could be understood in the context of the Middle Ages. Regretfully, it did not remain there.

From Wikipedia:

"The term Sharia itself derives from the verb shara'a, which according to Abdul Mannan Omar's Dictionary of the Holy Qur'an connects to the idea of "spiritual law" (5:48) and "system of divine law; way of belief and practice" (45:18) in the Qur'an. "

"Most countries of the Middle East and North Africa maintain a dual system of secular courts and religious courts, in which the religious courts mainly regulate marriage and inheritance."

"Saudi Arabia and Iran maintain religious courts for all aspects of jurisprudence, and religious police assert social compliance. "

"Laws derived from sharia are also applied in Sudan, Libya and Afghanistan. Some states in northern Nigeria have reintroduced Sharia courts. In practice the new Sharia courts in Nigeria have most often meant the re-introduction of relatively harsh punishments without respecting the much tougher rules of evidence and testimony."

"The punishments include amputation of one/both hand(s) for theft, stoning for adultery, and execution for apostasy."

Apostasy (from Greek αποστασία, a defection or revolt from a military commander, from απο, apo, "away, apart", στασις, stasis, "standing") is a term generally employed to describe the formal renunciation of one's religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy.

To read more on Sharia law Wikipedia offers a good introduction.

In the West, these acts are offensive, in the Mid East they are considered virtuous by many. To me this is a dividing line, that perhaps cannot be overcome. Those who speak of Islam as a peaceful religion, cannot justify death for apostasy as an element of a peaceful religion, or a way of life.

An interesting round up of information can be found on ABDUL RAHMAN TO BE RELEASED


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