A Christian Afghan is on trial for his life on charges of apostasy from Islam. It hasn’t garnered much attention in the mainstream media, but the alternative press and blogs have picked it up.
It also appears that the Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai is feeling the pressure. According to LifeSite News, Karzai told Canada’s Prime Minister that Abdul Rahman “will not be persecuted for his beliefs,” and “[Karzai] assured me that respect for human and religious rights will be fully upheld in this case.” Of course, that’s not exactly saying that Rahman isn’t going to be tried for apostasy.
In fact, this article claims that Karzai’s government has said it will not interfere in the trial, although if Rahman is convicted Karzai must authorize the execution. Will he? The implication is that he won’t authorize it, but that’s not a guarantee.
Still, it looks like Karzai is looking for a way out of this mess (see the first link at the top of this post) that will appease Westerners while not angering Islamic extremists. Afghanistan’s US embassy is now claiming that Rahman’s mental fitness to stand trial is being questioned. In other words, someone’s saying to Rahman: “Just pretend you’re crazy and you’ll go free.” That would be fine for Rahman, but what about the next Christian convert to go on trial?
What would be better would be a recognition of freedom of religion. Can such a thing exist in a primarily Islamic country, especially one like Afghanistan where so many Islamic extremists—from among whom the Taliban sprung—still hold sway? This will be a big test of whether universal human rights like freedom of religion and the rights of minorities can exist in Muslim countries.