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Infiniti2001
Mar 20th, 2006, 06:56 PM
An Afghan man is being tried in a court in the capital, Kabul, for converting from Islam to Christianity.
Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants.

He converted 16 years ago as an aid worker helping refugees in Pakistan. His estranged family denounced him in a custody dispute over his two children.

It is thought to be Afghanistan's first such trial, reflecting tensions between conservative clerics and reformists.

Conservatives still dominate the Afghan judiciary four years after the Taleban were overthrown.

The BBC's Mike Donkin in Kabul says reformists, like the government under President Hamid Karzai, want a more liberal, secular legal system but under the present constitution it is hard for them to intervene.

'Tolerance'

Afghanistan's post-Taleban constitution is based on Sharia law, and prosecutors in the case says this means Abdul Rahman, whose trial began last Thursday, should be put to death.

When he was arrested last month he was found to be carrying a bible and charged with rejecting Islam which is punishable by death in Afghanistan.

Trial judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah told the BBC that Mr Rahman, 41, would be asked to reconsider his conversion, which he made while working for a Christian aid group in Pakistan.

"We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him," the judge told the BBC on Monday.

But if he refused to reconvert, then his mental state would be considered first before he was dealt with under Sharia law, the judge added.

He said he expected the case to take about two months to be heard.

Precedent

The Afghan Human Rights Commission has called for a better balance in the judiciary, with fewer judges advocating Sharia law and more judges with a wider legal background.

Several journalists have been prosecuted under blasphemy laws in post-Taleban Afghanistan.

The editor of a women's rights magazine was convicted of insulting Islam and sentenced to death last year - but was later released after an apology and heavy international pressure.

Mr Karzai's office says the president will not intervene in the case.

Observers say executing a converted Christian would be a significant precedent as a conservative interpretation of Sharia law in Afghanistan.

But it would also outrage Western nations which put Mr Karzai in power and are pouring billions of dollars into supporting the country.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4823874.stm

Wigglytuff
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:07 PM
the only thing i could think as i read this: an eye for an eye will leave everyone blind

Helen Lawson
Mar 20th, 2006, 08:57 PM
I saw a dog program on Animal Planet, and it said that Afghans were one of the stupidest of all dog breeds. The only dumber breed was an Akita. That got me thinking at the time, was Kato named after Nicole's Akita, or was Nicole's Nikita named after Kato?

Josh
Mar 21st, 2006, 02:28 PM
Christian convert faces death penalty in Afghanistan

Daniel Cooney in Kabul
Monday March 20, 2006
The Guardian

A man could be sentenced to death after being charged with converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under Afghanistan's shariah laws, a judge said yesterday. The trial is thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan and highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists over what shape Islam will take four years after the fall of the Taliban.

Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told Associated Press. The accused was charged with rejecting Islam.

During the one-day hearing on Thursday, the defendant allegedly confessed to converting to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Judge Mawlavezada said.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam." He will rule on the case within two months.

Shariah law states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Repeated attempts to impose a jail sentence were barred.

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Mr Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused. "He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one," Mr Wasi said. "We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."

A Christian aid worker in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no reliable figure for the number of Afghan Christians. He said few admit their faith because of fear of retribution and there are no known Afghan churches. An old house in a war-wrecked suburb of Kabul serves as a Christian place of worship for expatriates. The only other churches are believed to be inside foreign embassies or on bases belonging to the US-led coalition or a Nato peacekeeping force.

propi
Mar 21st, 2006, 04:46 PM
and there's a war for this????? :o
They could have saved lots of € and the result could be the same... great new liberties, death penalty for the converted (if finally sentenced) :o

skanky~skanketta
Mar 21st, 2006, 05:03 PM
:mad: