I wrote already about Abdul Rahman, but he is hitting the news more. Michelle Malkin has done a great job covering this story. She pointed today to an AP story by Daniel Cooney. Let me quote it in full here with comments bolded by me:

Convert must die, Afghan clerics declare

DANIEL COONEY, Kabul March 24 2006

An Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity must be executed, clerics in Afghanistan claimed, adding they would incite people to “pull him into pieces” if the government caved into Western pressure and freed him.

The trial of Abdul Rahman has highlighted a conflict of values between Afghanistan and its Western backers.

“Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die,” said Abdul Raoulf, considered a moderate cleric.

Rahman, 41, faces the death penalty under Afghanistan’s Islamic laws. His trial, which began last week, has caused an international outcry. George W Bush has said he is “deeply troubled” by the case.

Condoleezza Rice, his secretary of state, yesterday telephoned Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, seeking a “favourable resolution”.

Rice told Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan foreign minister who was visiting Washington, that the prosecution was “contrary to universal democratic values” for which the United States fought in Afghanistan.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said she had received assurances from Karzai that Rahman would not be sentenced to death, as did Stephen Harper, the Canadian premier. Canada has 2300 troops in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and commands a Nato mission there.

Diplomats say the Afghan government is seeking for a way to drop the case, and authorities had said Rahman was suspected of being mentally ill and would have tests to see whether he was fit for trial.

However, preachers in four Kabul mosques said they did not believe Rahman was insane. “He is not crazy. He went in front of the media and confessed to being a Christian,” said Hamidullah, chief cleric at Haji Yacob mosque.

“The government is scared of the international community. But the people will kill him if he is freed.

Raoulf, a member of the Afghan Ulama Council, the country’s main Islamic organisation, agreed. “The government are playing games. The people will not be fooled.

“Cut off his head!” he exclaimed at Herati mosque. “We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there’s nothing left.”

He said the only way for Rahman to survive would be for him to go into exile.

However, Said Mirhossain Nasri, the top cleric at Hossainia mosque, said Rahman must not be allowed to leave.

“If he is allowed to live in the West then others will claim to be Christian so they can too,” he said. “We must set an example… He must be hanged.

The clerics said they were angry with other countries for pushing for Rahman’s freedom.

“We are a small country and we welcome the help the outside world is giving us, but please don’t interfere in this issue,” Nasri said. “We are Muslims and these are our beliefs. This is much more important to us than all the aid the world has given us.”

Hamidullah warned of a popular uprising if the government freed Rahman.

Rahman is believed to have lived in Germany for nine years after converting to Christianity while working as an aid worker for a group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He returned to Kabul in 2002.–AP

So what we see here is Abdul Raoulf, a Muslim cleric, calling for Rahman’s death and promising to instigate the people to tear this apostate to bits. And Raoulf is considered by some to be a moderate Muslim cleric. Another cleric, Mirhossain Nasri, is saying that exile is too good for him. Rahman needs to be killed to keep others from leaving Islam. Nice people.

I don’t think this is going to be resolved without Rahman being killed, either by the Afghani government or by the Afghani people. And other than writing here and calling the government in Washington D.C., there’s not a thing I can do for Rahman.

But I’ll tell you what I will do: I’m going to laugh in the face of the next person who tells me that Islam is the “Religion of Peace.”

UPDATE (3/24/2006 5:19 PM): OK, so I might have spoken too soon. According to this news report, Rahman is likely to be released “soon” from jail. So will he die at the hands of the people if he is released?

UPDATE (3/24/2006 9:40 PM): Michelle Malkin has a great round-up of information of all the latest developments. Apparently, an Afghani cleric said the following: “The prophet says when somebody changes religion, he must be killed.” She also lists the reactions of other bloggers. Well worth reading.

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