Abdul Rahman, arrested in Afghanistan on charges of converting from Islam to Christianity, is apparently going to be released. While officials are hedging in their explanation of the decision, at one time suggesting there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, but also claiming he is mentally “unfit”.
This situation remains problematic for all concerned. Rahman is still in great danger of being killed by angry mobs, especially since Muslim clerics have been demanding his death. An obvious short-term answer would be for Rahman to leave Afghanistan, but he understandably does not wish to do so, and also, fleeing the country would allow Jihadists to claim a sort of victory, and would fail to help the cause of other Christians in Afghanistan, especially those who also used to be Muslims. This creates a significant dilemma for the new government in Afghanistan, which is trying to balance traditional Sharia as the law in Afghanistan with convincing Western nations that Islamic Democracy means tolerance and cultural advancement.
For the world of Islam, it means sorting out a modern answer to moral dilemmas which avoids betraying either the tradition of Sharia, or collapsing beneath the thuggery of the Jihadists. For the United States, it represents the conflict between acknowledging the sovereignty of Afghanistan and influencing the development of a social morality infrastructure.
And in case it has slipped your mind, the Chinese government, which has nothing to do with Sharia, continues to hold documentary film-maker and blogger Hao Wu without charges or legal representation, denying visits of any kind from anyone. One hopes that Secretary of State Rice might make a phone call or visit on his behalf. And for those inclined to pray for the saints under siege in this world, a few extra words for Abdul Rahman and Hao Wu might be in order.