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Afghan Court Drops Case Against Abdul Rahman for Converting to Christianity

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Abdul Rahman, who has been hearing voices according to his warden, could be free as early as Monday, after an Afghan Court dismissed the case against him for converting to Christianity, citing a lack of evidence.

His relatives testified he was mentally unstable, and there was some earlier question as to whether he would be ruled mentally unfit, which might have played some role in the court’s decision. There was also some question as to his citizenship. The court’s decision makes that a moot point and will likely anger Afghan clerics who had called for an enforcement of the country’s laws against apostasy.

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“There will be big protests across Afghanistan,” said Faiez Mohammed, a Sunni Muslim leader in the northern city of Kunduz. “This has shamed Afghanistan in the eyes of other Muslim countries.”

International pressure had been brought to bear on the Afghan Government, from the Pope to President Bush stressing that religious freedom is a vital element of democracy. Of course, in the court of international opinion, the Afghan Government was found guilty even before it acted, and the fledgling democracy deemed failed. The Afghan constitution is a unique political animal, enshrining both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Islamic Law. This was perhaps it’s first test, and unfortunately, avoided rather than faced up to.

It is expected he may move to another country. The question is, that in a country where his actions have made his existence a crime, does he have freedom despite being a free man?

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  • RJ Elliott

    By taking this way out, the Afghan Court has spared a life. And that, of course, is good.

    But it has not answered the all-important question: Can a Muslim convert to another religion in “free” Afghanistan without his/her life being threatened by the “democratic” government?

    Stay tuned…

  • Justene

    Do you think for one moment that the Afghan government did this to spare a life or becuase of his mental condition? They responded to international pressure.

    I think they will figure out some way not to execute anyone for converting. It may become the most unenforced law in Afghanistan.

  • Aaman

    Do you mean they are not an Islamic nation anymore?

  • Andy Marsh

    I think the question might also be, what kind of protests will there be all over the world? Will they be protests like the cartoon protests…or protests like civilized people protest?

    It is a good thing that the Afghan court decided not to try this man for this crime, but it’s a shame he had to be let off because he’s considered insane…but what else could he be…he converted from Islam?

  • Dave Nalle

    From what I’ve read the whole ‘insanity’ thing was a ruse manufactured by his lawyers to get him off. Hints may have been dropped by the court that it was the one sure out for him. By all accounts he’s pretty lucid. Of course the arrogance of zealots might just assume that conversion was a sign of insanity.


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    For contrast to this, one might wish to look at Mordekhai Vanunu, who converted to Christianity and is now know as Michael. He served 18 years in jail. But he did not serve 18 years for converting to Christianity – he served 18 years for espionage against the State of Israel – blowing open secrets of the Dimona plant.

    He is not really free either. He is not likely ever to be allowed to leave this country’s soil even though he served his prison term. By rejecting the country’s raison d’être, and converting to a foreign faith, and continuing to maintain contacts with foreign journalists, he has essentially convinced many here that he deserves life imprisonment – or the closest thing to it. He is not only perceived as a danger because he leaked the information on Dimona, he is also perceived as a danger because he rejected Judaism and Israel. You’ll never get a judge to admit that though.

    Is this just? By our norms, it is. By the norms of many other countries it isn’t. But he lives here and betrayed us. I guess we get to decide. Should Vanunu be executed? NO. Being forced to live here against his will for the rest of his life is a far harder punishment.

    Now had he merely converted to Christianity, would he, in my opinion, deserve jail? No. He might deserve the shunning of his former co-religionists – but not jail or execution.

  • Dave Nalle

    Talk about inept analogies, Ruvy. Where were you going with that one?


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Where was I going, Dave? Making the point that even in a country where converting from the dominant religion is frowned on, at the very least (like Israel), one need not have a death penalty for it, or even a jail term.