Islam: You're in for life

I shouldn't be shocked to hear that a man in Afghanistan may be executed for converting to Christianity from Islam, but it sounds SO 16th century. Then again, these are fundamentalists, and as backwards-thinking as they come:
    KABUL, Afghanistan - Senior Muslim clerics said Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity should be killed regardless of whether a court decides to free him.

    Abdul Rahman, a 41-year-old former medical aid worker, faces the death penalty for becoming a Christian under Afghanistan's Islamic laws.
Yesterday, the man himself spoke about his situation, one where his family and friends have openly denounced him.
    But yesterday, Rahman was briefly brought before the news media. According to a report by the BBC, he said: "I am not an infidel or a fugitive. I am a Christian. If they want to sentence me to death, I accept that."
Still, in the face of his resolve, quite a few clerics are afraid:
    "He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian," said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob Mosque.

    "The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed. He is not mad. The government are playing games. The people will not be fooled," said Abdul Raoulf, cleric at Herati Mosque. "This is humiliating for Islam. ... Cut off his head."
Humiliating. Interesting word to use, especially considering this man knew the penalty for his conversion, and chose to return home and speak out. This is a dangerous case for the fundamentalist Muslims, for, outside of this being a slap in the face of religious freedom (which they never cared about anyway), I see some potential problems with the aftermath of the execution:
  • The execution will make a martyr out of this man. Christian organizations will use this as a lightning-rod to demonstrate the resolve of the Christian spirit in the face of tyranny. Not only that, it'll give Bush some stronger talking points. Don't need that.
  • What is it about the Christian religion that was so compelling? His act of defiance in the face of death may cause a lot more people over there to wonder about Christianity, read books, listen to such propaganda. Is Christianity worth death? What did he know that made the Clerics frightened?
  • And, of course, the worst sentiment would be, "Why do we have to force people to stay Muslims? Does our religion suck that bad?"
A lot of potential problems with this one. On one hand, I'd love to see the fundastupid do something to hurt their cause, but I grow weary of getting fired up about the religiously incompetent. Let's hope the 21st century prevails.


linguo said...

Most of the damage has already been done. As you said, people will question and compare. The end may have just begun. I doubt they'll be any direct political involvement from the Afg gov, though. They'd be morons to execute him, all they have to do is release him if they want him dead.

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