Friday, February 6, 2009

Death Penalty For Book Translation

It appears that the quest to re-make Afghanistan into a western style democracy has quite a way to go. The BBC reports a well intentioned man commissioned the printing of the Koran translated into the Afghan language. Big mistake, prosecutors in the courts want him sentenced to death. (story)

In all the mosques in Afghanistan, all the mullahs said, 'Zalmai is an infidel. He should be killed,'" Zalmai recounted as he sat outside the chief judge's chambers waiting for a recent hearing.

Zalmai lost friends quickly. He was condemned by colleagues and even by others involved in the book's printing. A mob stoned his house one night, said his brother, Mahmood Ghaws.

Police arrested Zalmai as he was fleeing to Pakistan, along with three other men the government says were trying to help him escape. The publisher and the mosque's cleric, who signed a letter endorsing the book, were also jailed.


Sentences on religious infractions can be harsh. In January 2008, a court sentenced a journalism student to death for blasphemy for asking questions about women's rights under Islam. An appeals court reduced the sentence to 20 years in prison. His lawyers appealed again and the case is pending.

In 2006, an Afghan man was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity. He was later ruled insane and was given asylum in Italy. Islamic leaders and the parliament accused President Hamid Karzai of being a puppet for the West for letting him live.

I thought we were getting rid of the Taliban for perpetrating these type of horrors? This is the system that replaced them? Our soldiers are risking their lives for these people?

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