Dead ,man walking
Mood hardens against Afghan convert
By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Kabul
Increasing international pressure over the case of Christian convert Abdul Rahman is forcing the Afghan government to play a careful balancing act between its Western allies and religious conservatives at home.
Under the interpretation of Islamic Sharia law on which Afghanistan's constitution is based, Mr Rahman faces the death penalty unless he reconverts to Islam.
"The Prophet Muhammad has said several times that those who convert from Islam should be killed if they refuse to come back," says Ansarullah Mawlafizada, the trial judge.
"Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity. That is why we have told him if he regrets what he did, then we will forgive him," he told the BBC News website.
But the bigger problem confronting the president is that an overwhelming number of ordinary Afghans appear to believe Mr Rahman has erred and deserves to be executed.
At Friday prayers in mosques across the Afghan capital, the case of Abdul Rahman and the consequent international outcry is the hot topic of discussion and the centrepiece of sermons.
"We will not let anyone interfere with our religious practices," declared cleric Inayatullah at Kabul's Pulakasthy mosque, one of the city's largest.
"What Rahman has done is wrong and he must be punished."
Unless he leaves Afghanistan, he's a dead man.
Sounds like a problem for the fundies.
Because the Afghans are no pushovers.They're tough people and they don't back down easy. The fundies and the West can caterwaller all they want, but the US isn't going to get their way and isn't going anywhere.
posted by Steve @ 7:13:00 PM