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Christian conversion a capital offense.

Sixteen years ago, Afghan native Abdul Rahman, born and raised a Muslim, became a Christian. Under the tenets of Islam as propounded by Mohammed and enforced by most religious leaders who esteem him as Allah's Prophet, it is a capital offense to "apostatize" from that faith.

After returning to "liberated" Afghanistan following a long stint living abroad, Rahman became involved in a custody dispute over his two daughters. During the investigation, his own family--in fidelity to their duties as prescribed by Islamic Sharia law--informed authorities that he had converted to Christianity. Rahman was arrested and charged with apostasy.

On March 27, Afghan authorities announced that the case against Rahman would be dismissed because of evidentiary problems. Rahman was to be freed from prison following his request for asylum in another country. "Several Muslim clerics ... threatened to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if he [was] freed, saying he is clearly guilty of apostasy and deserves to die," reported an AP dispatch from Kabul.

In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, the constitution supposedly guarantees religious freedom, but specifies that Islam is the supreme law of the land. In practice this means that Afghans and Iraqis enjoy unqualified freedom to submit ("Islam" means "submission") to Mohammed's religion. And since the overwhelming majority in each of those "liberated" countries is Muslim, the official persecution of Christians and other non-Muslim religious people is perfectly democratic--which is an illustration of the patent falsity of using the term "democracy" as a synonym for "freedom."

Of Abdul Rahman, Afghan prosecutor Abdul Wassi says: "He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one. We are Muslim and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."

After Rahman's case became an international scandal, Afghan authorities suggested that his life might be spared were he judged to be mentally incompetent and sent into exile. Rahman, however, insisted that he was sane, healthy, and fully aware of the threat to his life. Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-installed puppet president of Afghanistan, has clearly stated "his intention to leave the case to the courts," reported the New York Times on March 27.

While Mr. Rahman's predicament prompted public outrage from Canada, Italy, and other Western nations, the Bush administration's reaction has been oddly subdued. "I'm troubled when I hear, deeply troubled when I hear, the fact that a person who converted away from Islam may be held to account," stated Mr. Bush when asked about the matter. The use of the expression "held to account" suggests that Rahman had done something wrong, rather than that he is an innocent Christian martyr who may be murdered for his unyielding faith in Jesus. Odd, is it not?

Mr. Rahman was released from Policharki prison, apparently due to international pressure. He fled to Italy, where he was offered asylum.
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Title Annotation:Abdul Rahman
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Apr 17, 2006
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