Afghan student's death sentence hits nerve

Feb 1, 2008, USA Today:

KABUL, Afghanistan — A 23-year-old journalism student languishes in an Afghan jail, facing execution for insulting Islam in a case that has aroused worldwide outrage.

The death sentence handed to Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh on Jan. 22 is a sign of repression that still exists in Afghanistan more than six years after the fall of the fundamentalist Taliban regime ...

Kaambakhsh was convicted of downloading blasphemous writings from the Internet and distributing them to fellow students at Balkh University, says Sham ul-Rehman, the court's chief judge: "He insulted the prophet Mohammed. He called him a murderer and a womanizer."

Kaambakhsh's brother says the case goes beyond religious freedom. Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, an Afghan investigative journalist, says his brother was denied a lawyer and signed a confession after being held eight days and threatened by officials from the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's version of the FBI. Directorate spokesman Sayeed Ansari denied the agency had anything to do with the case.

"They didn't listen to my brother's defense," Ibrahimi says. "They decided everything beforehand."

Kaambakhsh is appealing his conviction, but still hasn't found a lawyer.

Ibrahimi suspects that he is the real target in the case. Ibrahimi has written extensively about the criminal activities of northern Afghanistan's warlords. One recent article, published by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, documented the way powerful officials have broken the law by rounding up handsome young "dancing boys" and abusing them sexually.

Kaambakhsh's conviction is "indirect pressure on me," Ibrahimi says. "After that, I stopped writing strong stories." ...
Our moral dilemma in Afghanistan that we never discuss
Lawrence Auster:
Should we be helping sustain a society and government the fundamental laws and customs of which require the execution of people for distributing a negative opinion about Muhammad? Obviously not, since to do so is not only wrong in itself but means supporting a religious system seeks to subdue us to the same law. What then should we do? Obviously we do not have the ability to modernize or democratize a society ruled by a religion that executes people for expressing opinions. Nor do we have the ability to destroy that religion, short of destroying the country and killing most of its people. Nor do we have the ability to assimilate the followers of such a tyrannical religion into our society and our global democratic capitalist order. What then can we do? We should withdraw our forces from that country, and end our connection with that country, while promising that if a regime, such as the Taliban, comes to power there that threatens us, we will return and destroy it. (Or alternatively we should wage a standalone war of extermination against the Taliban, without connecting that war with support for the existing sharia government.) As I've said over and over, a three week war once every ten years will be infinitely less costly to us than permanent occupation. Other than that, we have no interest in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. We cannot, in the name of democracy, be propping up an Islamic sharia regime which executes people for questioning Islam.

This fundamental contradiction in our present policy is never discussed, and so we continue in our absurd and self-debasing course of "defending democracy" in a sharia country.

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