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Historically Islam as a tradition has tolerated the other peoples of the book, Christians have a far worse record in this respect. However in their early states the bearing of arms was confined to Muslims who operated as tax farming ruling class. Soldiers would convert to be able to serve the Caliphate and enemies were offered the option of conversion over death. It's easy to understand the utilitarian roots of apostasy being a comparable crime to treason in this context. Islam has never had an exit door; Muslim states, including the Ottoman Empire, have punished unrecanting apostates with death or imprisonment for most of their history.

Modern Afghanistan is not alone; apostasy is a capital crime in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Sudan and Mauritania, it's severely treated in Kuwait, Pakistan, Egypt, and Bangladesh.

The British faced a similar problem in their Muslim colonies and protectorates and had to balance, their own ideas of justice and the interests of zealous evangelical missionaries (the idealogical core of British imperialism) with the maintenance of civic order. This was always a tightrope walk, the evangelicals would become one of the root causes of the Indian Mutiny which nearly destroyed the Raj. The Brits were still struggling with this problem in early 20th Century Egypt and Afghanistan.

Karzai isn't secure and his regime will fall if he fails to pander to the Afghan Religious Right and as you suggest they may have laid a cunning snare for him. They did for the stronger Afghan Communists who despite the Kremlin's warnings tried to advance feminist causes. Bush should be very cautious despite the outcry from his evangelical base.

Rather than martyr more of our soldiers up there I'd let the Afghan's hang him, for the poor retard has freely chosen his cross. Not a happy choice but ensuring freedom of religon would be pretty low on my list of priorities in this project.


Why the european did not allow muslim sister to cover their head?Why the christian & jew always {HATE} our Muslim brother.They used UN,human right,etc to coverup their mistake .Is that democracie or abusing our right .I agree to execute abdul rahman.Now we can realise how the christian plan to finish the Muslim.Allah is great

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