Category Archives: Afghanistan

Top Al-Qaeda man killed in Afghanistan

You can read about it here

Nine militants, including a top Al Qaeda operative carrying a bounty of $5 million on his head, have been killed in an air strike six kilometers from here, senior security officials said.

Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah alias Abdur Rehman alias Abu Muhajir, wanted by the US for his involvement in the 1998 bombings on American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, was killed in an attack on Wednesday night, the officials said. The 41-year old militant was said to be from Egypt.

“His death has been confirmed,” officials working for different agencies said. “The confirmation is based upon multiple intelligence sources,” one of them said.

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More about Rahman and Afghanistan

We have known today that Rahman has asked for asylum in any foreign country:

 KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has appealed for asylum in another country, the United Nations said Monday.

U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards said the world body was working with the Afghan government to meet the request by Abdul Rahman, 41.

"Mr. Rahman has asked for asylum outside Afghanistan," Edwards said. "We expect this will be provided by one of the countries interested in a peaceful solution to this case."

 And Italy has sought for obtaining his asylum:

ROME – Italy's foreign minister will ask the government to grant asylum to an Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity….

Abdul Rahman, 41, was released from prison late Monday, a day after the court dismissed the case under pressure from the Bush administration.

He quickly dropped out of sight, as Muslim clerics in his country continued to call for his death.

BUT why on earth no one was there waiting to protect him? A man who has received so many death threats, how can be left alone in a country where his own family has accused him and his own father has called him a traitor? We knew the Afghan Government was not going to do very much? BUt how about the International Forces?

The problem now is that he has disappeared: no one has seen him since. Afghan authorities have settled him to have mental treatment in the West. I just do not know what to make of it. Is he in hiding protecting by International troops and as a secure measure no one has said where he is? Or has he been kidnapped?

BUT there are also MORE Christians detained for the horrible, despicable crime of being Christians:

According to Compass Direct -a monitor of Christian persecution-, two other Afghan Christians were jailed in the past few days.

"Because of the sensitive situation, local sources requested that the location of the jailed converts be withheld," the organization said.

Compass Direct also reports that this past weekend, one young Afghan convert to Christianity was severely beaten outside his home by a group of six men who eventually knocked him unconscious with a hard blow to his temple. He woke up in the hospital two hours later, but later was discharged.

"Our brother remains steadfast, despite the ostracism and beatings," one of his friends is reported to have said.

The link does not tell anything of accusing the beaters and send them to jail. Maybe the Government thinks: "hey, they are doing that work for us". Each day passes along, each day I am more disgusted with the so-called powers of this world. BUT I am more displeased even with the so-called "intelectuals" and non-governmental organizations, who are so eager pointing out the human rights violations in a lt of Western countries and yet are so quiet when talking about the ones that happen in these part of the world. They are just silent. They do nothing. They say nothing. Even this is really a very grave violation that keeps repeating everyday

It's disgusting to see it's all a theatre, just made to think themselves are better all the rest of the world. I would like to see how many of them will face death with the same braveness and greatness of mind as this man has done.

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Abdul Rahman’s update: charges dropped against him

Looks like the pressure made by a lot of people has succeded:

"The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official told AP on condition of anonymity.

"The decision about his release will be taken possibly tomorrow," the official added. "They don't have to keep him in jail while the attorney general is looking into the case."

Abdul Wakil Omeri, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, confirmed the case was dismissed because of "problems with the prosecutors' evidence."

"It is the job of the attorney general's office to decide if he is mentally fit to stand trial," he told AP.

Questions are reportedly being raised on whether or not Rahman would stay in Afghanistan, or face exile in another country.

[…] An Afghan Christian in the U.S. who has regular contact with Christians in his home country through his ministry, posted a video clip of Rahman on his website.

Rahman says in the clip, according to Andaryas: "The punishment by hanging? I will accept it gladly, but I am not an infidel. I am not a traitor. I am a follower of Jesus."

These last days, the pressure has come from several fronts. For example, Australian President, John Howard, has linked the fate of Abdul Rahman's to the presence of Australian forces in Afghanistan:

Howard has already written to Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking him to intervene and save the life of Abdul Rahman, condemned to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, and he said Sunday that his government would continue pressuring Kabul over the issue.

“I will not drop off this issue, I will not just be content to write a letter and leave it at that,” he said. “I will continue to press very, very strongly.”

Howard went on to link the case of Rahman, 41, to the deployment of Australian troops who have been fighting Afghanistan’s ousted Taleban regime, a fundamentalist Islamic militia which introduced harsh Sharia law to Afghanistan before being toppled by US-led forces in late 2001.

“I do feel very deeply about this, particularly because there are Australian soldiers risking their lives to fight the Taleban and we’re not fighting the Taleban to allow something like this to happen,” Howard said.

The Pope, that a lot of people were expecting to speak about this issue -including myself-, has also defended the freedom of religion:

Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Afghan president to show clemency towards a man facing possible execution for converting to Christianity. Abdul Rahman has been charged with apostasy, a religious offence.

 

The Vatican said the pontiff had appealed to President Hamid Karzai to respect human rights guarantees enshrined in the Afghan constitution….

The appeal was sent in a letter in Pope Benedict XVI's name by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

The note, excerpts of which were released by the Vatican, said the pope's appeal was inspired by "profound human compassion" and by a "firm belief in the dignity of human life and by respect for every person's freedom of conscience and religion".

Releasing Mr Rahman would "contribute in a most significant way to our common mission to foster mutual understanding and respect among the world's different religions and cultures", it added.

On the other hand, we have had a lot of stupid dhimmies also. The first one, Jack Straw, British FM, who was so quick in speaking against the Danish cartoonists, has been now quiet about this case:

When the row about the Danish cartoons of Mohammed broke, no one was quicker out of the traps than our Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. He roundly condemned what he saw as the irresponsibility of their publication.

It was not clear why Mr Straw felt the need to speak up. Britain has no responsibility for independent, democratic Denmark, nor for the European countries in which the cartoons were republished.

We do, however, bear considerable responsibility for Afghanistan. We helped invade it in 2001 to overthrow the Islamist Taliban government, and ever since then we have helped rebuild government and society there, including the framing of a new constitution. The other day, we sent yet more troops to help keep the uneasy peace. We boast, with some justice, that we have set Afghanistan free.

So the news that a Muslim is threatened with death by an Afghan court simply because he converted to Christianity should surely alarm Mr Straw. So far – and the case has been in the press for more than a week – we have heard nothing audible from him. President Bush has said he is "deeply troubled" by the case. Condoleezza Rice and many European governments have put strong pressure on the Afghan authorities to release the man, Abdul Rahman, citing Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes, in its definition of freedom of conscience, the right to change one's faith.

But Britain's mighty response has been left to one of Mr Straw's juniors at the Foreign Office, Kim Howells. Mr Howells has sought "urgent clarification" from Kabul.

It may provide Mr Howells with some of the clarification that he needs to point out that Mr Rahman's case was predictable. Islamic law (sharia) is enshrined in the new Afghan constitution. All the four schools of law in the majority Sunni Islam agree that the penalty for "apostasy" – abandoning one's Muslim faith – must be death. One states: "When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatises from Islam, he deserves to be killed" and recommends that, when he is killed, he should be "neither given a bath, nor any funeral prayer". Much the same applies in Shia Islam.

Looks like some cartoons are more valuable than one person's life. Well, Spanish Government is even worse because they haven't mentioned it, although there are Spanish soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Of course, there are also people who are thinking the Rahman's conversion is just a consequence of a Jewish conspiracy:

Another cleric, Ayatullah Asife Muhseni, told a gathering of preachers and intellectuals at a Kabul hotel that the Afghan president had no right to overturn the punishment of an apostate.

He also demanded that clerics be able to question Rahman in jail to discover why he had converted to Christianity. He suggested it could have been the result of a conspiracy by Western nations or Jews.

Well, that would be the poorest of all conspiracies, because the Jews would have achieved a convert to Christianity, not to Judaism. It would certainly be extraordinary. And above all, it is so inimaginable to be a convert to Christianity, hein?

Lastly, I want you to read an article from International Herald Tribune, whose title is: ""Execution of apostates rare in Islamic nations". It's very curious to read: looks like as if it's good that they kill sometimes because of being apostates.

UPDATE: BUT Rahman's is not the only one. You can read here or in general Afghan Times. So we have to ask: are they punishing the authors of these actions? If not, we can say that the Judges are as resposible for that as the killers.

A Lady's Ruminations has also a very good post on the subject. She asks what will be Rahman's situation and how secure he will be. Also The Rolling Barrage asks several questions -very important questions in fact-:

1. Will there be upcoming charges against anyone expressing a minority religious, or non-religious, view?

2. How will the populace respond? Islamic clerics are of the opinion
he is in peril. If so, are the clerics to blame for that danger?

3. Will there be a reaction against the US forces in Afghanistan?

Well, I would change the 3rd question to "Will there be ANY reaction to the Coalition Forces in Iraq?

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Last news about Abdul Rahman

 

From Chicago Tribune:

"We will cut him into little pieces," said Hosnia Wafayosofi, who works at the jail, as she made a cutting motion with her hands. "There's no need to see him…"

…"He is my son," said (Abdul Manan, Rahman's father), crying. "But if a son does not care about the dignity of his family, the dignity of his father, God can take him away. You cannot make anything out of such a son. He is useless."

With that kind of father, who needs enemies? So now the dignity of a father is linked to the religious beliefs of his son. Oh, yeah, that is liberty of thought.

Prosecutor Abdul Wasi said Rahman had been told repeatedly to repent and come back to Islam, but Rahman refused. Wasi called Rahman a traitor.

"He is known as a microbe in society, and he should be cut off and removed from the rest of Muslim society and should be killed," Wasi told the court.

 

A microbe? You mean: being a Christian is bad for society? Wow, now I discover that I am, for some Muslims, just a microbe to be cut off. A traitor? Hmm, this is the same thing Romans said about Christians, because they did not want to convert to the Pagan religion and to adore the Emperor. Now it seems to me, you have to adore the ulemas and the imams, glup, no, Allah and Mohammed. My goodness. I just keep on asking: WHY Shari'a was introduced in the Afghan constitution as The Rule? This consideration alone in my view discredites Afghan democracy. If the Constitution does not defend the rights and freedoms of your citizens, then that country could not be named a real democracy, even if it is formally one -just as most of the Communist regimes who called themselves "democratic"-

"If he doesn't regret his conversion, the punishment will be enforced on him," the judge said. "And the punishment is death."

The ones who are going to regret his death are going to be his daughters, whose destiny is more than awful in such a family.

HT: Reverse Vampyr.

From Jerusalem Post:

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. … …four senior clerics interviewed by The Associated Press in their mosques in Kabul said Rahman deserved to be killed for his conversion.

 

"Whether a court decides to free him". Marvellous, hein? That obedience to the Rule of the Courts and to what they decide is alarming.

"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 is playing games. The people will not be fooled," said Abdul Raoulf, cleric at Herati Mosque. "This is humiliating for Islam (what? to convert to another religion is humiliating for the prior one? No, HUMILIATING for ISLAM is to condemn to death a good and brave man for the pernicious "crime" of changing his religion). … Cut off his head."

Raoulf is considered a moderate cleric in Afghanistan. He was jailed three times for criticizing the Taliban’s policies before the hard-line regime was ousted by US-led forces in 2001.

HT: Plus+Ultra Blog, Noisy Room.Net and Clarity and Resolve.

"He went in front of the media and CONFESSED to being a Christian". Wow, what a sin, what a bad person this man is, what a CRIME…. And this man is moderate? Well, perhaps if compared with Talibans. But that is as saying: he defends democracy, much more than Hitler or Stalin. I mean, those are NO good examples to be compared with.

And, as a result, I am astonished: how on earth they are giving these fools permission to build "islamcities" in the West? How on earth this "tolerant and peaceful" law is even named here? This contradicts everything our societies have fought for so long. And yet, Muslims have been so eager to demand "respect" to the West because of the Mohammed cartoons, but now (except CAIR, for once) they are doing nothing. That is their concept for humanitarian aide and tolerant society.

Oh, and for what I knew Spanish "intelectuals" have said nothing about this case. Of course, this is a foolish man converted into Christianity, urgggh. How on earth someone can do that, when Islam is so moderate, peaceful, etc?

NOTE: I think Andrew Sullivan is right when he says:

I know there are moderate Muslims. I know that in Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia and India, for example, these kinds of views are not common. I also know that it wasn't that long ago that Christians held similar views about heretics or Jews, and that today's fundamentalist Christianity is often supportive of the death penalty and torture. But that a religious faith contains this kind of fanatical intolerance and violence anywhere is disturbing. It's barbaric. And it is in the Middle East that this kind of theocratic fascism is ascendant.

 

Anywhere, yes that is the real important word. All frontiers of Islam are producing conflicts.

But note also that when you speak about moderation is THE MUSLIMS -that is the people- who in some cases, are tolerant. BUT rarely is called Islam as Moderate. The Koram, from a political point of biew, has no moderation. Yes, Christianity has had a lot of defects, but if you go to the Gospels, those very fundamentalistic interpretations were at least very unrelated with the spiritual message. We have to note that, Christianity -in all its forms- has a pricnipal commandment: the love to others -even enemies-. The Koram says that one of the duties of a good Muslim is Jihad, which in his "minor" class, consists in the conquest of all the territories and the conversion of all the people to Islam -whether by force or by preaching-. The ones who are not converted have to choose: or death or jizya -alternative only available to "People of the Book"-, which does not mean that the vexations were not going to be daily, even if you pay it.

So, the question is: are Muslims in the West going to fulfil the Koram within the limits of Western Constitutions? The answer is: if the paleolithic let the "moderates" they will. If not, the war, so silenced and hidden by MSM for so long, will explode in not a very far future. BUT we have to underline it: the battle for freedoms against the excess of the Koram began a lot of time ago. These are only the results of not having exerced the right actions in the right time, by letting the extremists understand in a very clear way, that nothing was going to change in the West, no matter what Mohammed said he was revealed 1.400 years ago.

And as a result, Australian PM John Howard (HT: Michelle Malkin) has said:

The case of an Afghan man facing a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity is “appalling,'' Australian Prime Minister John Howard said.

“We're putting the lives of Australian soldiers on the line and this sort of thing is allowed,'' Howard told Melbourne radio station 3AW today. “When I saw the report about this I felt sick.''

Just like I felt. There are also Spanish soliders in Afghanistan. By the way, the Spanish Governement has not said anything yet, for what I know. 

And this is how Reuters writes about this case:

 

ROME (Reuters) – The strong Western response to a threatened death sentence for an Afghan convert to Christianity looks something like a mirror image of the Muslim reaction to the Prophet Mohammad caricatures printed in the European press.

There have been no riots or sackings of Afghan embassies, unlike the violence that marked the uproar in Muslim countries after the Danish cartoons were published, but the shock and mutual incomprehension expressed in both cases are similar.

So for Reuters the life of someone is just the same as the printing of 12 cartoons in which appear someone that died 1.400, and that, even if he believed he was a Profet, HE WAS A MAN, like all the others. Do you mean that I hace to understand some people who does not get revolted when they say all these nosenses? 

Well looks like the writer is today less asleep than yesterday. He now says that "the cases are clearly different". Well, now I am calmer.

No, not the least, really.

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Two stories

The first from HotZone: Child Bride. HT: NoisyRoom.Net. (I do not know what happens I cannot connect with this page now)

Married at the age of four, an Afghan girl was subjected to years of beatings and torture, finally escaping to discover that within all the world’s cruelty, there is also some kindness.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Eleven-year old Gulsoma lay in a heap on the ground in front of her father-in-law. He told her that if she didn’t find a missing watch by the next morning he would kill her. He almost had already.

Enraged about the missing watch, Gulsoma’s father-in-law had beaten her repeatedly with a stick. She was bleeding from wounds all over her body and her right arm and right foot had been broken.

She knew at that moment that if she didn’t get away, he would make good on his promise to kill her.

[…]”They beat me with electric wires,” she says, “mostly on the legs. My father-in-law told his other children to do it that way so the injuries would be hidden. He said to them, ‘break her bones, but don’t hit her on the face.'”

There were even times when the family’s abuse of Gulsoma transcended the bounds of the most wanton, sadistic cruelty, as on the occasions when they used her as a human tabletop, forcing her to lie on her stomach then cutting their food on her bare back.

[…] One evening, Gulsoma says, when her father-in-law saw the neighbor giving her food and a blanket, he took them away and beat her mercilessly. Then, she says, he locked her in a shed for two months. “I would be kept there all day,” she says, “then at night they would let me go the bathroom and I would be fed one time each day. Most of the time it was only bread and sometimes some beans.”

She says every day she was locked in the shed, she wished and prayed that her parents would come and take her away. Then she would remember that her father was dead and her mother was gone.

But Gulsoma had an inner strength even her father-in-law couldn’t comprehend. “When he came to the shed he kept asking me, ‘Why don’t you die? I imprisoned you, I give you less food, but still you don’t die.'”

She says she believes there are other girls like her in Kandahar, maybe elsewhere in Afghanistan, and that she wants to study human rights and one day go back to help them. (READ ALL)

And the second from students in Pakistan (from Christian Science Monitor)

Like many students at Punjab University, Mohammed Abid Faran worries about living costs almost as much as his studies. To save rupees, he counts on an Islamist student organization, Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), which keeps prices at the university hostel artificially low. “Here a cup of tea costs three rupees,” Mr. Faran, an engineering student, says. “Outside it costs six.”

But Faran worries that IJT dictates not only the price of tea but the proper comportment of Muslim students in this cosmopolitan city as well. “We are studying, and they are saying we should protest, without regard if we are busy and want to go or not,” he says, referring to a recent demonstration on campus over the controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. “Why should they put pressure on us?”

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“I am not an apostate, I love Jesus Christ”

There are a lot of people writing about Abdul Rahman, that man who can be another martyr in the 21st century. A man that, knowing what was going to happen to him, acknowledge his faith in Christ. A man whose own family denounced to a Shari’a tribunal for the very grave crime of converting to Christianity. I have written yet on the subject, but there are more news, and as a result I am going to make a summary of the posts I have read throughout the blogosphere, underlining that the difference between the cartoons and this case is that in here the life of a peaceful, valuable and good human being can be destroyed because of the intolerance of a country and its President Hamid Karzai, who has decided not to intervene to save his life.

Having said that, it’s reconforting to me that in a moment where we have so many self-interests and when so much people tend to hide what they really are to satisfy the political correctness, there are people as this man that has everything to lose, he keeps himself firm, as Pastorius notes:

He was questioned, “Do you confess that you have apostacized from Islam?”

He responded, “No, I am not an apostate, I believe in God.”

Question: “Do you believe in the Koran?”

Response: “I believe in the Injil (New Testament) and love Jesus Christ.

So simple, and serene and yet so important and brave. You can see the video in which he says that here.

Among the Governments, possibly the Italian Governemnt has taken the hardest position of all. We can see it in the Italian Blogosphere. For example, Libero Pensiero is commenting an article appeared in the Italian Newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, in which a paragraph at least is very important:

Con i Talebani non si sarebbe saputo niente (anzi, qualcuno avrebbe detto “sono i loro usi, Abdul lo sapeva e non doveva convertirsi o comunque non doveva dichiararlo”), non si sarebbe potuto protestare più di tanto (i Talebani non erano molto aperti ai consigli altrui) e, soprattutto, avrebbero fatto come volevano (vedi statue dei Buddha, distrutte nonostante e richieste dell’Onu).

Translation: With the Talebans this case would not have been known (or if it has been the case, they would have said, “these are our uses, Abdul knew it and he shuold not have converted, and do not talk more about this issue), there would have never been so much protests (the Talibans were not very open to discussion) and, above all, they would have acted as they wanted (just remember the Buddha statutes, destroyed, without taking into account the demands from ONU).

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Afghan Man who converted to Christianity could be sentenced to death

Pastorius has posted it in IBA with a very good comment.
This is the type of things that make me feel really bad. Are really the Afghans and in general, the people of the Muslim countries prepared to know and to want democracy and human rights? Reading people as Sandmonkey (who has started a new blog outside blogger) or Freedom for Egytians or Eteraz -now one of my colleagues at IBA-, even if sometimes we don’t agree , I believe it. Because they recognise that the rest can have another ideas and opinions, and that is the base of democracy. I mean, only if you think that all people are equal, and as a result, can have an opinion just as valid as yours, democracy can function. If not, when you just position yourself above the rest, just judging as “commoners” all people that surrounds you and then thinking you above them all, the problems begin, and much more when that is not a personal problem BUT the problem of people who thinks of themselves as an elite. Precisely the equality in front of the law, the free press and the freedom of expression only were born in Europe when the classes, as compartimental groups which cannot be penetrated, dissappeared. The reason is obvious: if there are people in society which are above the rest, this people also cannot be critisized, and then the press cannot be free and the citizens cannot say freely what they think.
But when you see news like this -or the one that I just posted here only days ago about the Taliban’s justice-, I just doubt it. Because this people are only grounding their points of view in a religious book, and the religion, although lived in community with people of your same faith, is a personal election, and so cannot be elevated to the category of principle that should determine the aplicable law to a citizen.
I think Ronald Dworkin says it better than me, speaking about the Danish cartoons (HT: Pia Causa):

But religion must observe the principles of democracy, not the other way around. No religion can be permitted to legislate for everyone about what can or cannot be drawn any more than it can legislate about what may or may not be eaten. No one’s religious convictions can be thought to trump the freedom that makes democracy possible.”

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