Cam Edwards of OnTap e-mailed me yesterday with an excellent idea–a rally for Abdul Rahman outside the Afghan embassy in Washington, D.C. Thanks to the D.C. Freepers, a permit has been submitted to the D.C. police.
The way it works is the D.C. Police only contact you if there’s a problem. As of now, there’s been no contact by the police, so it looks like the rally is a go.
Please join us if you can (and if you can’t, why not organize an event/prayer service/etc. in your own neighborhood?):
Friday March 24
Noon to 1pm
Outside the Afghan Embassy
2341 Wyoming Ave NW.
More action items at Freedom’s Zone.
Where are Hollywood and the Glitterati? Where are Barbara Streisand? Where is Cindy Sheehan? George Clooney? Sean Penn? All the rest of the intellectual elite of the entertainment world who think it their inherent right to instruct the rest of us on the virtues of tolerating everything from porn to persecution? Everything except the simple faith of one Christian man standing by himself in a Muslim nation.
lWhere are Barry Lynn and Americans United for Separation of Church and State? Where are the leaders of the liberal mainline Protestant Denominations and the National Council of Churches?
The silence of these people is truly deafening.
And where are the Evangelical and Fundamentalist leaders challenging their flocks to candlelight vigils, protests and prayers on behalf of Rahman? Will America’s Christians stand by like Saul of Tarsus to hold the coats of those slaughtering this brave man of Afghanistan?
Question: Will the “moderates” at CAIR come to support Rahman?
Update: Well, well…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR CALLS FOR RELEASE OF AFGHAN CHRISTIAN
Islamic civil rights group says conversion a personal, not state matter
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/22/2006) – A prominent national Islamic civil
rights and advocacy group today called on the government of Afghanistan
to release Abdul Rahman, a man facing the death penalty for converting
from Islam to Christianity.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says
the man’s conversion is a personal matter not subject to the
intervention of the state.
I’m troubled when I hear, deeply troubled when I hear, the fact that a person who has converted away from Islam may be held to account. That’s not the universal application of the values that I talked about. I look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship.
“Held to account?”
Here’s an excerpt from my syndicated column today:
During his extensive White House press conference on the War on Terror and the defense of freedom overseas, Bush spent plenty of time describing what life was like for Afghanis before Operation Enduring Freedom:
“There was no such thing as religious freedom. There was no such thing as being able to express yourself in the public square. There was no such thing as press conferences like this. They were totalitarian in their view. And that would be — I’m referring to the Taliban, of course. And that’s how they would like to run government. They rule by intimidation and fear, by death and destruction. And the United States of America must take this threat seriously and must not — must never forget the natural rights that formed our country.”
President Bush, who will defend Abdul Rahman’s natural rights from being usurped and terminated by Afghanistan’s Islamic executioners?
Some observers are taking comfort in the news that Rahman may be declared mentally unfit in order to allow Afghan president Hamid Karzai to save face. But Rahman is apparently not alone. Compass Direct, a Christian news agency, reports (hat tip: reader Faith M.):
During the past few days, Compass has confirmed the arrest of two other Afghan Christians elsewhere in the country. Because of the sensitive situation, local sources requested that the location of the jailed converts be withheld. This past weekend, one young Afghan convert to Christianity was beaten severely outside his home by a group of six men, who finally knocked him unconscious with a hard blow to his temple. He woke up in the hospital two hours later but was discharged before morning. “Our brother remains steadfast, despite the ostracism and beatings,” one of his friends said.
Several other Afghan Christians have been subjected to police raids on their homes and places of work in the past month, as well as to telephone threats.
Are they crazy, too?
ICC report on Christians in Afghanistan
More on secret Christians.
Robert Spencer: Abdul Rahman – On trial for freedom. Excerpt:
he Islamic death penalty for apostasy was not invented either by Karzai or Mullah Omar. It is as old as the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s command that “if somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him” (Bukhari, vol. 4, bk. 52, no. 260). It is deeply ingrained in Islamic culture—which is one reason why it was Abdul Rahman’s family that went to police to file a complaint about his conversion, even so many years after the fact. Whatever triggered their action now, they could be confident that the police would receive such a complaint with the utmost seriousness.
The Abdul Rahman case is an opportunity for the British and American governments to refine and clarify what exactly they mean by freedom: is it simple one-person one-vote self-determination, which has elected exponents of political Islam in large numbers recently in the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Egypt and elsewhere? Or is it Western concepts of universal human rights and freedoms, as derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition and encapsulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Abdul Rahman may go free simply as a bid to keep American aid flowing into Kabul. But the deeper problem within Afghan society—and the larger lack of focus in the Western powers’ overall aims in Afghanistan and Iraq—will still remain. We may hope that sometime soon President Bush, having determined to keep his new “partners in the cause of freedom,” will call for the removal of the Sharia provisions in the Afghan and Iraqi Constitutions, and declare his support for full freedom of conscience such as that exercised by Abdul Rahman.
Certainly such a course would lose him many friends in the Islamic world, but it would win him many there and elsewhere as well—among those who hold that the dignity of the human person, and the right not to be coerced into belief, are worth defending.
Jim Geraghty in the NYSun: Intolerable trial
You reap what you sow. What is happening in Afghanistan (and in Iraq) is precisely what we bought on to when we actively participated in the drafting of constitutions which — in a manner antithetical to the development of true democracy — ignored the imperative to insulate the civil authority from the religious authority, installed Islam as the state religion, made sharia a dominant force in law, and expressly required that judges be trained in Islamic jurisprudence. To have done all those things makes outrage at today’s natural consequences ring hollow.
We can pull our heads up from the sand now and say, “No, no, no! We’re nice people. We didn’t mean it that way. That’s too uncivilized to contemplate.” But the inescapable truth is: the United States made a calculated decision that it wasn’t worth our while to fight over Islamic law (indeed, we encouraged it as part of the political solution). People who objected (like moi) were told that we just didn’t grasp the cultural dynamic at work. I beg to differ — we understood it only too well.
Islamic law does not consider conviction, imprisonment, or death for apostasy to be an affront to civilization. That’s the way it is.
Daveed Garteinstein-Ross/Counterterrorism Blog:
This case has generated an enormous amount of media attention because the U.S. and its allies liberated Afghanistan from the fundamentalist Taliban regime, so Westerners find it disconcerting that people can still be killed in that country for leaving the Islamic faith. While this media attention is warranted, it is important for observers to understand that the problem of apostasy laws reaches far beyond Abdul Rahman and Afghanistan.
This is fundamentally an issue that people in the counterterrorism field and those who follow terrorism should care about. The Bush administration has invested in a strategy of democratization to counter the extremism that can be found in the Islamic world. But voting rights will not serve as an effective counterbalance to extremism if voting is simply superimposed over the current Middle Eastern political systems, with their lack of basic political freedoms. The most crucial freedoms for creating true democracy in the Middle East are freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion — and of these, the lack of freedom of religion in the region is the most dramatic.
…Islamic apostasy laws have long been a problem that fell beneath the media’s radar. With the attention focused on the Abdul Rahman case, the issue may now begin to get some of the attention it deserves. Ultimately, given the democracy’s centrality to U.S. attempts to transform the region, it is an issue that may affect us all.
It does affect us all.