Friday, March 24, 2006

Another Good Question by Muslihoon

Muslihoon e-mailed me and asked what I thought of the Abdul Rahman case in Afghanistan.

I am disappointed, but not surprised. The Afghan judiciary is the most reactionary part of the Afghan Government. The people I knew in Parwan, Kapisa and Kabul provinces are probably muttering and shaking their heads about this - wishing the Qadzi would leave this alone. They were Muslim, but they were very live-and-let-live. If it makes any sense, they were driven more by family, culture and tradition than by religion alone - which, of course, is part of their culture and tradition.

I expect President Karzai to lean in as heavily as he can - mostly behind the scenes. This isn't what Afghanistan needs right now.

More on this later. Right now I am exhausted and not really ready to think too deeply beyond what is piled up on my desk. And getting some more coffee.

UPDATE: I thought this might happen. Good. [thanks to the Instapundit]


Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

One other thought. If Muslim law recommends death for those who leave the faith, where does that leave Christian missionaries who often run NGOs in these countries. One group in Rockford, IL, builds playgrounds in countries like Afghanistan. The end product, a playground, is fine, but they also have a secondary goal to spread their faith. Is it right to tempt a person into an act (conversion) that might get them killed? I don't have an answer here - just curious to know your thoughts.

10:06 AM  
Blogger CSMBones said...

It amazes me when we in the west are surprised by such behavior. About 10 Islamic states including Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have the same laws. These nations are considered more modern. Muslim Law is kept in place to apease the great unwashed. In Afghanistan, a few years of relative freedom is not going to change centuries of culture that celebrates such behavior. Remember, it is a Religion of Peace. They are just missunderstood.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

Wow, I had no idea so many other Muslim countries had these kind of laws. Does Egypt? That's the only Muslim country I've visited. I found them imminently hospitable and friendly. Of course, I was also a dumb tourist with American greenbacks. I'm pretty sure anyone would be hospitable and friendly under those conditions. I know there had been terrorist bombings of tourist sights a couple years previously (we went in 2000). The friendly and hospitable police assured us that those kinds of things don't happen anymore.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Muslihoon said...

Thank you, Major! Sorry for bugging you.

If the same case came up in Pakistan, it would be very, very difficult for the person to be let go. But because people focus so much on Afghanistan, the convert has international pressure to thank. I agree with the Major that Karzai will work something out behind the scenes (although whether some deraged Talibani will kill him once he's released is another matter all together). But for a war-torn country, persecuting converts from Islam is, understandably, the last of the common people's, despite how important religion is.

(Frankly, I think he should immigrate to Europe or the US where he can spread his testimony freely and to good use.)

Your issue, Mighty Quinn (if the Major doesn't mind me commenting on that too), is a good one and somewhat problematic. On the one hand, these people believe they are doing material and spiritual good for the people, bringing them playgrounds and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They would believe that if someone were killed for converting, that person would be a martyr for the faith. Better a martyr than damned, they would believe. On the other hand, we don't want to upset what multinational and multicultural capital we have accumulated in Afghanistan by having Afghanis become even more suspicious of Westerners who may or may not be there to convert.

This is a concern, as it is, among Muslims anyway. Many suspect all Christian organizations of ulterior motives. Amongst themselves, they discuss how Christian charities are taking advantage of Muslims' suffering to brainwash or influence them to convert to Christianity. Obviously, this is strongly condemned by Muslims. Add to this the fact that Islam doesn't tolerate (or isn't supposed to tolerate) defection from Islam, and the situation becomes very complicated. Some go so far as allege that Christian charities, in cahoots with Western governments, force states to create policies such that Christian charities will have exclusive (if not special) access so as to complete its mission of "stealing" Muslims from Islam. So along with Christian organizations, Western governments are being suspected of covert "Crusades," as it were. I think all of this suspicion is ridiculous, but then many Muslims are not know for being completely rational or reasonable.

This is why I believe the Afghanistan experiment is important and, to some degree, successful: tempering Islam-derived laws with modern values and systems. If this can succeed in Afghanistan, the system can be promoted in other Muslim states.

10:16 PM  

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