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Old 03-27-2006, 12:28 PM   #46
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Hundreds protest reports Afghan convert to be freed

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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Hundreds of people protested in a northern Afghan city following reports that a man who faced a possible death penalty for converting to Christianity would be released, officials said.

About 700 Muslim clerics and others chanted "Death to Bush" and other anti-Western slogans in Mazar-e-Sharif on Monday, officials told The Associated Press.

Clerics have called for protests across Afghanistan against both the government and the West, which had pressured President Hamid Karzai's administration to drop the case against Abdul Rahman.
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:11 PM   #47
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Of course, this means that we can't expect Muslims to adopt a humanistic way to run their own countries--at least not the ones who have a tradition of Sharia law. As Yolland has pointed out this excludes both Indonesia and Bangladesh. There's no way to introduce our Western model of democracy in a country like Afghanistan.
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:23 PM   #48
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Originally posted by verte76
There's no way to introduce our Western model of democracy in a country like Afghanistan.
What about the rest of the middle east or muslim countries. I dont think they will ever get out of their nomadic ways.
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:45 PM   #49
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What about the rest of the middle east or muslim countries. I dont think they will ever get out of their nomadic ways.
Well, we're not necessarily talking about nomads. People in all of the Islamic countries live in cities and are not nomads. This includes Saudi Arabia. I'm arguing that they'll never accept Western ideas about democracy. The idea that we can introduce our version of democracy into Afghanistan is a pipe dream. You can't have your cake and eat it too. They're under Sharia law.
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:50 PM   #50
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The problem I see is that the people are being brainwashed by these Clerics and they need to be stopped. I am sure if the clerics or people went to these different western civilizations they would tone down their retoric (or how ever you spell it.)
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:57 PM   #51
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What about the rest of the middle east or muslim countries. I dont think they will ever get out of their nomadic ways.
What does nomadic have to do with anything?
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:58 PM   #52
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What does nomadic have to do with anything?
I should have used nomadic in a better way. I ment it as how there still following an ancient way and how they need to catch up and re-discover their religon.
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Old 03-27-2006, 04:02 PM   #53
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These people don't think they're being brainwashed. They are Muslim, and these people are their teachers. The Islamic religion doesn't have a priesthood the way Christians do. Their powerful religious people are the same people as their powerful political people are. Thus you can't separate mosque and state the way you can separate church and state in the West. If you had been born in Afghanistan, you'd be Muslim, not Christian. It's a whole different mindset.
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:14 PM   #54
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Originally posted by Justin24


I should have used nomadic in a better way. I ment it as how there still following an ancient way and how they need to catch up and re-discover their religon.
Nomadic pertains to a lifestyle. They move around from place to place, and don't live in one place. The people we're talking about do live in cities. They practice the Islamic religion in a way that's not compatable with Western democratic ideals because they base their legal codes on Sharia, which is theocratic.
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:18 PM   #55
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Here's the latest on this case.
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/a...?enewsid=39239
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:56 AM   #56
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Law, family, and society discourage conversion in Muslim nations

By Jasper Mortimer, Associated Press | March 28, 2006

CAIRO -- In the Middle East, Jordan is known as a tolerant country, but when a Muslim man converted to Christianity two years ago, a court convicted him of apostasy, took away his right to work, and annulled his marriage.

Such prosecutions are rare because they're hardly ever needed. The law heavily discourages -- or outright forbids -- conversion by Muslims in most nations in the region. But weighing against it even more heavily are the powerful influences of family and society.

The sensitivity of the issue is highlighted by the case of an Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity -- creating an outcry in the United States and other nations, which pressured Afghanistan for his release.

But Afghanistan isn't the only US-allied government where Muslim converts to Christianity are threatened with execution.

Saudi Arabia neither permits conversion from Islam nor allows other religions in the kingdom. There are no churches and missionaries are barred. Regular criticism in US State Department reports on religious freedom have had no effect on Saudi policy.

While Islam accepts Christianity as a fellow monotheistic religion, Islamic Sharia law considers conversion to any religion apostasy, and most Muslim scholars agree the punishment is death. Saudi Arabia considers Sharia the law of the land, although there have been no reported executions of converts from Islam in recent memory.

The only other nation in the region that carries the death penalty for apostasy is Sudan. Although no executions have been reported recently, a Sudanese man who allegedly converted was arrested in 2004 and reportedly tortured in custody, according to the State Department.

In Kuwait, a court convicted a Shi'ite man who publicly proclaimed his conversion to Christianity, but didn't sentence him since the criminal code did not set a punishment.

Other countries in the region, such as Egypt, do not have laws criminalizing apostasy, but converts still can face prosecution.

In May, an Egyptian man who converted to Christianity was arrested on suspicion of ''contempt for religion," a charge that entails a prison sentence of up to five years, said Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. The man, who has not been identified, remains in custody without charge, Bahgat said.

Authorities in Egypt and most other Arab countries will not recognize conversion from Islam in official documents, such as identity papers, which usually state a person's faith.

Even if a convert is not prosecuted, ''the issue is the pressure they are going to face from their families, the religious establishment, their friends, and associates," said Fadi al-Qadi, a Middle East spokesman for York-based Human Rights Watch. ''It would be overwhelming. They would be really isolated."

There are exceptions. In strongly secular Turkey, a convert can walk into a Demographic Records office, sign a declaration saying they have converted from Islam to Christianity, and leave an hour later with a new identity card reflecting the change. While Islam is the religion of 99 percent of Turkey's 71 million people, it has no official religion.

''Turkey is a democratic country and, according to law, you can choose whatever you want," said Soner Tufan, a convert from Islam, who runs a Christian radio station, Radio Shema, in the capital, Ankara.

But, he said, ''if someone converts, they can suffer some problems from their friends, relatives, and neighbors" -- or face difficulties getting a job in the civil service.

In Tunisia and Algeria, the Islamic authorities take a dim view of conversion, but the secular governments do not prohibit it and it does occur.

Most often, the issue of conversion reaches the courts in the context of marriage. While Islam accepts a Muslim man marrying a Christian woman -- one of the Prophet Mohammed's wives was Christian -- it does not tolerate a Muslim woman marrying a Christian man.

The November 2004 case of a Jordanian man convicted of apostasy came after his wife -- who remained Muslim -- and her family reported he had converted.

The man, whom court records did not identify, appealed his conviction to a higher court but lost.

In Lebanon, where Christians are estimated to be about 35 percent of the population, the state does not forbid a change of religion, but Muslim authorities do and will not perform a wedding between Christian men and Muslim women.
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:05 PM   #57
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Here's the latest in this story.

Afghan Christian convert granted asylum in Italy
Friday, March 31, 2006

Analysts say Karzai might still face anger at home and his rivals could try to take advantage of the row

ROME/KABUL - Reuters


An Afghan Christian convert who had faced the death penalty for abandoning Islam arrived in Italy and was granted asylum, Italy said on Wednesday.

Abdur Rahman, 40, was jailed this month for converting to Christianity and could have faced trial under Islamic sharia law that stipulates death as punishment for apostasy.

He was freed from prison on Tuesday after pressure from Western states whose troops helped bring the Afghan government to power.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he had been granted asylum in Italy.

"He is already here... He is currently being looked after by the Interior Ministry," Berlusconi told reporters in Rome.

Berlusconi said the man's exact whereabouts were being kept secret. Italian news agency ANSA quoted unnamed sources who saw Rahman in the past few hours as saying he was grateful and very happy to be in Italy.

News of Rahman's departure from Afghanistan came hours after members of the Afghan parliament condemned his release and said he should not be allowed to leave the country.

Asked whether he feared a negative reaction from the Muslim world, Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said: "No, not particularly, also because Italy has always been committed to defending inalienable human rights, including one's freedom to believe in their own god."

Rahman's jailing raised a storm of protest in the West, with Italy, Germany, the United States and Canada -- all countries with troops in Afghanistan -- leading calls for his religious freedom to be respected and for him to be released.

Pope Benedict also called for clemency.

In Italy, politicians from all colors gave their backing to Berlusconi's asylum offer, even though one member of the center-left opposition accused him of "propaganda" ahead of a general election on April 9-10.

Criticism in Afghan parliament:

In Afghanistan, however, many religious conservatives had demanded Rahman be punished under Islamic law, with some warning of rebellion if the government gave in to Western pressure and released him.

Analysts say President Hamid Karzai might still face anger at home and his rivals could try to take advantage of the row.

The lower house of parliament held an unscheduled debate on the case and Rahman's release was widely criticized.

"The release of Abdur Rahman was contrary to the existing laws of Afghanistan," Yunus Qanuni, president of the lower house of parliament, told the assembly, before Italy's asylum offer and Rahman's departure had been confirmed.

"Abdur Rahman should not flee and should not be allowed to leave Afghanistan."

Rahman became a Christian while working for an aid group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan 15 years ago. He later lived in Germany before returning to Afghanistan.

He was detained after his relatives told authorities he had converted to Christianity following a dispute involving two daughters. Relatives said Rahman had suffered from mental problems, although he denied that.

Qanuni said members of the Supreme Court and prosecutors should be summoned to explain Rahman's release. Several members of parliament said Rahman should be executed. President Karzai has made no public comment on the case.

Religion is a sensitive issue in deeply conservative Afghanistan.

Violent protests erupted in February over the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by European newspapers. Last year a magazine report that U.S. military interrogators had desecrated the Koran also sparked violence.

About 1,000 people rallied in a northern city on Monday to demand Rahman be executed but there have been no protests since.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:19 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Law, family, and society discourage conversion in Muslim nations

By Jasper Mortimer, Associated Press | March 28, 2006

CAIRO -- In the Middle East, Jordan is known as a tolerant country, but when a Muslim man converted to Christianity two years ago, a court convicted him of apostasy, took away his right to work, and annulled his marriage.
Similar things happen in Egypt as well. While visiting a small church in Ismailia, I met two men who were kidnapped after their conversion to Christianity in an attempt to force them to recant. Job loss, non-recognition by the government, etc. all occur.

The Coptic Christians will actually tattoo a cross on their wrists to discourage forcible reconversions to Islam.
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