Abdul Rahman has made it to the “Big Three” network newscasts. His story was covered on Good Morning America this morning and at the time, is considered a “top story” on the GMA website. Progress is being made!
President Bush spoke yesterday in West Virginia and had this to say (in context and emphasis added):
Afghanistan — I went there with Laura. We had a good visit with President Karzai. I like him — good man. You can imagine what it’s like to try to rebuild a country that had been occupied and then traumatized by the Taliban. They’re coming around. They got elections. They had assembly elections. He, himself, was elected. We expect them to honor the universal principle of freedom. I’m troubled when I hear — deeply troubled when I hear the fact that a person who has converted away from Islam may be held to account. That’s not the universal application of the values that I talked about. Look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship.
There’s still a Taliban element trying to come and hurt people. But the good news is, not only do we have great U.S. troops there, but NATO is now involved. One of my jobs is to continue to make sure that people understand the benefits of a free society emerging in a neighborhood that needs freedom. And so I’m pleased with the progress, but I fully understand there’s a lot more work to be done.
Good call, Mr. President! Keep standing strong on this issue!
Now, here’s a shocker:
Islamic scholars say the original rulings on apostasy were similar to those for treasonous acts in legal systems worldwide and do not apply to an individual’s choice of religion. Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, a position supported by verses in the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, such as:
1) ‘If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?’ (10:99)
2) ‘(O Prophet) proclaim: ‘This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it.’’ (18:29)
3) ‘If they turn away from thee (O Muhammad) they should know that We have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message.’ (42:48)
4) ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion.’ (2:256)
Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention. Faith imposed by force is not true belief, but coercion. Islam has no need to compel belief in its divine truth. As the Quran states: ‘Truth stands out clear from error. Therefore, whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks.’ (2:256)
We urge the government of Afghanistan to order the immediate release of Mr. Abdul Rahman
Of all the people that made the above statement: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (a.k.a. CAIR). Obviously my religious beliefs don’t line up with CAIR’s, but I am surprised and glad for their support of Mr. Rahman.
In trial developments, apparently the state prosecutor doesn’t like the trial either (so why not just drop the charges?), so he has asserted the charge of insanity, which if validated, would free Brother Rahman. One official was quoted as saying “He doesn’t talk like a normal person.” O, that I had that charge made against me. But really, Christians shouldn’t talk like “normal people.” We ought to be different. That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about our interests, but people ought to be able to see a difference in our interests and how we talk about them. Sure, if you go around saying, “I believe in Christianity. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I am a Christian,” as Abdul Rahman did in his recent court appearance, more likely than not, people will view you as “not normal.”
And as we pray for Abdul Rahman and the involved govenment officials at home and abroad, let us remember, as Jeff King, president of the International Christian Concern, points out:
This happens in Saudi Arabia, this happens in Pakistan — a number of Islamic countries. And, you know, this needs to be spoken against.
In semi-related news, three Christian aid workers were rescued by Coalition forces in Iraq. I have some disagreement with their views on the situation in Iraq, but it is good to hear of their rescue.