Thursday, March 23, 2006

L'infame: Afghan Conversion

Abdel Rahman is a 41-year-old Afghan who16 years ago converted from Islam to Christianity, and now finds himself in a Kabul court facing the death penalty for it. It is against Islamic law, you see, to convert away from Islam, the religion of peace and tolerance. The case is raising hackles for those who think, like our Lord and Savior president, that Afghanistan is now just a hillier-than-usual, and bigger, Texan county. President Bush’s pathological aversion to truth still has him free-associating Afghan law with something James Madison might have written. And the majority of Americans who support the Afghan occupation still think the place is worth the fight, and the waste in lives, because they’ve bought into the Thousand-and-Two Night invention by the Bush administration that Afghanistan is somehow a “successful” occupation, rather than a craggier version of Iraq. (See my last installment of Afghanistan’s regression, back in October courtesy of American government accounts.)
Which makes Abdel Rahman’s story, like that of the young poet beaten to death by her husband and mother a few months ago, particularly enlightening about the direction of Afghan rights under American aegis. The story is generating some clear-eyed outrage. But it’s also giving the likes of Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, where historical perspective is measured, as the blog’s name innocently implies, in nanoseconds, the chance to claim yet again that “[t]his will simply provide more ammunition for those who believe that Islam is incompatible with civilization.” (Because, as we know, the thousand-year Reichian reign of the Catholic Church in Europe and our beloved New World was an orgy of benevolence and earthly bliss for those caught with anything other than a bible chafing their hands.) The story is also giving both liberals and conservatives the kind of equivocating hiccups that show to what extent the notion of objective, universal rights has become just another ideological battleground. Read the rest...