Friday, March 24, 2006

The blood of the martyrs . . .

Perhaps you have seen this story in the news (from the Associated Press):

Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to "pull him into pieces." . . . "Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.

. . . On Wednesday, authorities said Rahman is suspected of being mentally ill and would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he is fit to stand trial. But three Sunni preachers and a Shiite one interviewed by The Associated Press in four of Kabul's most popular mosques said they do not believe Rahman is insane. "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," Hamidullah said. Raoulf, who is a member of the country's main Islamic organization, the Afghan Ulama Council, agreed. "The government is playing games. The people will not be fooled.

"Cut off his head!" he exclaimed, sitting in a courtyard outside Herati Mosque. "We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left." . . . Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia Mosque, one of the largest Shiite places of worship in Kabul, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave the country. "If he is allowed to live in the West, then others will claim to be Christian so they can too," he said. "We must set an example. . . . He must be hanged." . . . "We are a small country and we welcome the help the outside world is giving us. But please don't interfere in this issue," Nasri said. "We are Muslims and these are our beliefs. This is much more important to us than all the aid the world has given us."

It may sound bizarre (and not exactly "moderate") to hear these calls for Rahman's execution. But it is hard to get around authoritative Islamic teaching on apostasy (Muslims that convert to another religion). The most merciful are the "Qur'an-only" Islamic sects, for that book only speaks of punishment for apostasy in the afterlife (although the slaughter of unrepentant infidels as an instrument of conquest/conversion is sanctioned in Sura 5:33 and Sura 9:5).

From the Qur'an: "Lo! those who turn back after the guidance hath been manifested unto them, Satan hath seduced them, and He giveth them the rein. That is because they say unto those who hate what Allah hath revealed: We will obey you in some matters; and Allah knoweth their secret talk. Then how (will it be with them) when the angels gather them, smiting their faces and their backs!" [Sura 47:25-27].

From the Hadith: "The Prophet said, 'If somebody discard his religion [of Islam], kill him'" [vol 4, no 260]; and, "So wherever you find them [apostates], kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection" [vol 9, no 64].

1 comment:

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Good news for the safety of Abdul Rahman:

The Christian convert who had faced a death penalty in Afghanistan for abandoning Islam arrived in Italy today, where he has been offered political asylum.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told reporters that Abdul Rahman, who had been jailed in Kabul earlier this month after being accused of apostasy, was under the protection of the Interior Ministry and had been taken to a “secret” location. “Precautionary measures have been applied,” Mr. Berlusconi said at a news conference here.

The decision to offer asylum to Mr. Rahman was taken during a cabinet meeting today. The entire government voted in favor, even members of the anti-immigrant Northern League, although Labor Minister Roberto Maroni said the party had had some reservations.