Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Twice a Martyr

Abdal Rahman of Afghanistan is preparing for martyrdom. He converted to Christianity; for that, the Afghan imams say he must be killed. US-installed President Hamid Karzai seems unsure what to do. The result is not certain. If Rahman is put to death for exercising his right as a free human being to worship as he chooses, he will be a martyr, above all, to the cause of human rights and democracy.

Is this what we went to Afghanistan to do? Is this what we defeated the Taliban for?
For shame.

The time has really come when Western governments must firmly state that the principle of human rights is universal and applicable to all societies at all times. These are our core values. Respect for Islam does not mean permitting radical versions of Islam that deprive human beings of their human rights. That goes for fundamentalist Christians and ultra-Orthodox Jews as well. Tolerance and respect for other cultures and religions must not be used as a cloak to permit intolerance and oppression within those cultures.

We can start at Guantanamo, by restoring the rule of law. We can then, in South Dakota, overturn a law aimed at controlling pregnant women based on religious objections to abortion.

Let's make Rahman's martyrdom matter.


Dr. Strangelove said...

Observation #1: Afghanis want to kill Rahman because he broke Islamic law.

Observation #2: The opium trade represents one-third of Afghanistan's GDP, and Afghanistan now cultivates nearly 90% of the world's poppy crop.


"The hypocrites think to deceive Allâh and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive it not. In their hearts is a disease..."
--Sura 2, "Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" v. 9-10 (in translation)

Anonymous said...

I heard there are rumors now that the Afghan government is trying to figure out a way to let the guy go without looking like they let the guy go.


// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

They are trying to do something. They are considering declaring him mentally ill or mentally unfit for trial. This is a way out of killing him. Apparently, under Sharia, you can't put a mentally ill person to death.

What is really going on here is that this man's family are trying to settle a score. NPR reported that there is a child custody battle going on and that this may be what started the whole thing. The man has been a Christian for like 16 years having converted while living in Germany. He only recently went back to Afghanistan. So this isn't the governmement of Afghanistan that has brought the case. It is the man's family. Thus the government is in a tough spot.

Regardless, Afghan law must be altered. But it has to be seen as something Karzi is doing on his own, not something he does to please the West.

I say declare are the man mentally ill, and then give him asylum status in the US or Europe. The same should hold true of Christians who are not being persecuted in Iraq. This man, however, may not agree if there is a child involved.


// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

How ironic, when the men trying to kill Rahman are suffering from fundamentalism, a form of mental illness. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

Ha! True that. Good point. 

// posted by uswest

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update US West. I can see how declaring him mentally ill would be a good option from the family's point of view. Their goal is to keep him from getting costudy of the kid - either by having him murdered by the mullahs or by winning the custody battle. I would bet that if he were declared mentally ill, he would certainly lose his costudy fight.

This kind of score settling is typical of traditional "law" systems like Sharia. It's all about honor and stuff. I'd be interested in reading what LTG's take is on the difference between this kind of traditional legal system and the modern rule of law. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

RBR, the heart of my answer is this: modern legal systems are a hell of a lot more traditional than most people are willing to admit. The modern view is of a society of formally equal individuals possessing certain rights vis-a-vis one another and the state. That formal view of society and the law is a very modern view, and the law does not entirely express that ideal even now. Family law least of all.  

// posted by LTG

US West said...

Here, here LTG. Furthermore, Sharia isn't just about "honor and stuff". That would be a gross misunderstanding. Remember that in Afghanistan, they are largely ruled by tribal law. Granted, Sharia law does contain many elements of tribal law partially because at its inception, it was an attempt to "civilize" what were nomadic tribes. Much of Sharia is also based on precedents set over centuries. Furthermore, Sharia takes different forms in different parts of the Muslim world. In some places, it is loosely interpreted; in others it is strictly interpreted. The type of interpretation is largely contingent on the ruling powers and prevalent social attitudes and mores. Sharia is based on Islamic notions.

Common law comes from a similar tradition of trying to civilize clans and tribes, only its form is different Our common law is based on Christian notions. The two types of law are different in their roots and in their application, but not in their underlying principles.

Furthermore, our tort law is used all the time as a means of reprisal. OJ didn’t get convicted, so let’s get him in civil court!

Just to close the loop, the man was declared mentally unfit to stand trial. He is now in hiding. See NPR.