Is this what we’re fighting for?

American soldiers are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan. It’s not nearly as many as in Iraq, and there aren’t nearly as many news stories about it, to be sure, but we are still spending blood and treasure to “stabilize” this supremely dysfunctional nation. The reason, we are told, is to bring freedom and to prevent the Taliban from coming to power again.

Well, here’s what we’re spending our blood and treasure for: To protect a theocracy that punishes infidels with death:

An Afghan man is being tried in a court in the capital, Kabul, for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants.

He converted 16 years ago as an aid worker helping refugees in Pakistan. His estranged family denounced him in a custody dispute over his two children.

It is thought to be Afghanistan’s first such trial, reflecting tensions between conservative clerics and reformists.

Here’s the definition of “tolerance” in Sharia law:

Trial judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah told the BBC that Mr Rahman, 41, would be asked to reconsider his conversion, which he made while working for a Christian aid group in Pakistan.

“We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him,” the judge told the BBC on Monday.

Or consider this statement from the prosecutor:

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Mr Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused. “He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one,” Mr Wasi said. “We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty.”

Yes, this is the sort of “tolerance” that our tax dollars–yours and mine–are supporting right now and that our brave soldiers are dying for: Convert back to Islam or die! We’ll “forgive” you if you do. Supposedly Islam forbids compelling anyone to convert, or at least so I’ve been told. Apparently my understanding was incorrect.

Let’s see. We liberated Afghanistan from an intolerant, backward, violent bunch of religious fanatics in order to turn it over to a different group of religious fanatics, it would appear. I fully supported ousting the Taliban back in 2001. After all, they housed and supported the enemies who attacked us. They had to go. But now that they’re gone, can someone explain to me why we should continue to support a government that would even consider executing someone solely on account of his religion?

Here’s a scary thought: Does anyone want to take bets on how long it is before we start seeing stories like this emerging from Iraq?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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