An update on the Afghan journalist sentenced to death for blasphemy.
HT: Ashamed to be Dutch at LGF
The Afghan embassy in Washington issued a statement on Saturday further distancing the Karzai government from the court's sentence. This comes after the Afghan Senate backed down from a statement supporting the sentence.
Amid international outrage over a student journalist sentenced to death for blaspheming Islam, the Afghan government Saturday said it was "fully aware of the gravity of the case."
Afghanistan "appreciates the concern expressed on his behalf," the government said in a statement released by the Afghan Embassy in Washington.
"The office of President [Hamid] Karzai is closely monitoring the case and working with Afghanistan's judicial system to find a just solution in accordance with Afghan law and our nation's international obligations."
Of course, that's the problem it has to be in accordance with Afghan law, which contains the smell of Sharia.
This issue was dealt with an essay released earlier today by Andrew Bostom. The U.S. and its allies did not create liberal democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, but democratic Shari'a states.
Read the whole thing, as they say.
Here are some highlights.
Thus, as championed by a callow American pseudo-scholastic apologist for Islam’s Shari’a, who evangelized for “Islamic Democracy,” Shari’a-compliant Afghani and Iraqi constitutions were crafted (and of course extolled by this same “scholar”, here, and here).
The tragic consequences of such uninformed and dangerous cultural relativism, enshrined as “law,” were glaringly evident, once again, in Afghanistan this past week Pervez Kambakhsh, a 23 year-old Afghan journalist was recently convicted of “blasphemy”—consistent with classical Islamic Law—for downloading and distributing an article “insulting” Islam.
Now the Afghan Senate has issued a statement on the case—signed by its leader, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, a reputed ally of President Hamid Karzai—approving the death sentence conferred on Mr Kambaksh, also in full accord with the Shari’a, by a city court in Mazar-e-Sharif. Although not universal, commonplace public sentiments in support of this Shari’a ruling were expressed by Afghans across the age spectrum. Abdul Wasi Tokhi, an 18-year-old student at the American University in Kabul, argued for a swift execution, stating: “The guy should be hanged. He was making fun of Islam’s rules and regulations. He was making fun of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. You cannot criticize any principles which have been approved by sharia. It is the words of the Prophet.” And Qari Imam Bakhsh, a Muslim cleric, concurred, maintaining: “I think he is not a Muslim. A Muslim would not make this kind of mistake. He should be punished so that others can learn from him.”
Two years before in March 2006, Abdul Rahman, similarly faced death at the hands of our Afghan allies—supported by the masses—for the “crime” of converting to Christianity. This fate was no fluke, not a brutal Afghan variant on the practice of “tolerant” Islam. Death for apostasy is part and parcel of Islamic scripture and tradition, codified in the Shari’a. When Afghanistan’s leading clerics endorsed Rahman’s death, they were on solid ground. Thus, in the wake of appeals by world leaders, including the Pope, and even though Mr. Rahman appears to have received a “dispensation” by the Karzai Government —for “mental health”, or other reasons, unfortunately, he is and remains guilty as per Afghan religious leaders, and Shari’a. Ultimately, Mr. Rahman had to be taken out of Afghanistan, clandestinely, and given asylum in Italy.
Notwithstanding the clear tactical success of the much ballyhooed 2007 surge (and the current obsessive Republican nomination campaign discussion, aptly termed, “The War on Timetables,” these military operations have engendered), if Iraq continues its seemingly inexorable progression towards a Shari’a state [“Islamic State by the will of the people”, in popular Islamic parlance], it will be neither a “free nation”, nor “a strong ally in the war on terror”.
Perhaps the earliest, most disturbing sign of things going awry in Iraq’s march toward “freedom” was already evident in February 2004: the refusal of the interim Iraqi government to allow its ancient, historically oppressed (often brutally so) Jews to return in the wake of the 2003 liberation. Singling out the Jews was agreed upon absent any objection, except for the dissent of one lone Assyrian Christian representative in the interim government, who knew well what such bigotry foreshadowed: the oppression and resultant exodus of the Assyrian community – which has transpired.
Although much lionized, Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Sistani remains an irredentist Shi’ite cleric who believes in najis—one of the more despicable belief systems in all of Islam—which imposes ugly restrictions on non-Muslim “infidels” due to their supposed physical and spiritual “impurity” [I have written about najis here, here, and here]. Sistani also “wishes” for Shari’a to be implemented in Iraq. As a result, Sistani-supporting women in the Iraqi Parliament are putting forth his repressive agenda. (From the Times of London, “Iraq’s women of power who tolerate wife-beating and promote polygamy”):
As a devout Shia Muslim and one of eighty-nine women sitting in the new parliament, she knows what her first priority there is: to implement Islamic law. When Dr Ubaedey took her seat at last week’s [March, 2005] assembly opening, she found herself among an increasingly powerful group of religious women politicians who are seeking to repeal old laws giving women some of the same rights as men and replace them with Sharia, Islam’s divine law.
And when Sistani posted this fatwa about gays on his website (see below), he precipitated a surge in homophobic killings by state security services and Shi’ite religious militias.
Q: What is the judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?
A: “Forbidden. Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible,” [emphasis added]
Conservative political scientist, and former University President John Agresto, wrote a poignant, and sympathetic, yet brutally honest memoir of the 9-months (September 2003 to June 2004) he spent in Iraq working as then Ambassador Paul Bremer’s senior advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Agresto, who had direct dealings with Sistani, has remained “more skeptical of the Ayatollah al-Sistani and his partisans than so many of my colleagues in the Coalition.” He highlights one astonishing fact about Sistani that has received scant attention, let alone comment, in light of legitimate concerns over undue Iranian influence on Iraqi affairs:
The Ayatollah Sistani is…Iranian by birth, Iranian by religious training–he still retains his Iranian citizenship in preference to accepting Iraqi citizenship.
But Agresto’s more immediate and tangible concerns with Sistani derive from the Ayatollah’s deeply rooted Islamic religious bigotry, and his illiberal, theocratic vision of the governance of Iraqi society.
I do not believe that parties that demand that all public legislation be based on Islamic law as interpreted by Shiite imams are liberal. I do not believe that a religious leader who refused even once to meet with Ambassador Bremer, or any American, but would gladly meet with every anti-American antagonist and criminal, from Muqtada al-Sadr to Ahmed Chalabi, is a “moderate.” I do not believe that the same Sistani who condemned the interim Iraqi Constitution because it protected the rights of the Kurds and secured property rights to Jews should be thought of as terribly tolerant. Indeed, the very first time I heard, in all my months there, an Antisemitic diatribe was from the Grand Ayatollah.
Concrete readily discernible evidence aside, Agresto laments, comforting, if corrosive delusions about Sistani, and “Iraqi democracy,” persist.
We insisted that the Ayatollah Sistani was surely a “moderate” and a friend to civil and religious liberty despite all the hard evidence to the contrary. Let me repeat my previous observations and predictions: The Ayatollah Sistani is an Islamist bent on establishing a theocracy not far removed from that found in Iran. He is an open antisemite and a not-too-subtle anti-Christian. He threw his support behind democratic elections because they were the handy vehicles for imposing religious authority all over Iraq. Nor is he the only one, or even the worst, only the most prominent. Yet while I believe the evidence is as clear here as it is in the case of [Ahmad] Chalabi, we only see what we want to see, not what’s visible. In our religious lives, hope may well be a virtue — but in foreign policy it is more often a sin, a temptation to willful blindness.
. . .
President Bush’s (January 28, 2008) State of the Union rhetoric about “men and women who are free,” in the “young democracy” of Afghanistan (and Iraq)—disconnected as it was from the recent blasphemy cases which illustrate graphically the lack of freedom of conscience in those Sharia-law based Muslim societies—was eerily reminiscent of the same misplaced optimism expressed over 70 years ago by the British Arabist S.A. Morrison.
. . .
More than seven decades later, the goals of true “liberty and equality” for Iraq and Afghanistan remain just as elusive. After yet another Western power has committed great blood and treasure toward their liberation, in both Muslim nations, their politico-religious leadership appears more likely to continue promoting Shari’a despotism, than liberal democracy.
We have a moral obligation to oppose Shari’a which is antithetical to the core beliefs for which hundreds of thousands of brave Americans have died, including, ostensibly, over 4000 now, in Iraq, and Afghanistan. There has never been a Shari’a state in history that has not discriminated (often violently) against the non-Muslims (and Muslim women) under its suzerainty. Moreover such states have invariably taught (starting with Muslim children) the aggressive jihad ideology which leads to predatory jihad “razzias” on neighboring “infidels”—even when certain of those “infidels” happened to consider themselves Muslims, let alone if those infidels were clearly non-Muslims. That is the ultimate danger and geopolitical absurdity of a policy that ignores or whitewashes basic Islamic doctrine and history, while however inadvertently, making or re-making these societies “safe for Sharia.”
US policymaking elites should use whatever influence we retain, heed the ignored lessons of the Japanese experience, and encourage the “young democracies” of Afghanistan to say Sayonara to Shari’a if our goal is to midwife true liberal democracies, not two more illiberal Shari’a states.