Abdul Rahman’s fate is still not clear


Is it just me, or does it feel like a giant, cosmic gauntlet has been thrown down from on High? Like in this Lenten season, leading up to Easter, the Christian nations are being put to a test – the test being, as Mark Steyn asks in his outstanding and brave column,
Will We Stick Our Necks Out for His Faith?

The answer is very important, I think.

The fragile Afghan state is protected by American, British, Canadian, Australian, Italian and other troops, hundreds of whom have died. You cannot ask Americans or Britons to expend blood and treasure to build a society in which a man can be executed for his choice of religion. You cannot tell a Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar that he, as a Christian, must sacrifice his life to create a Muslim state in which his faith is a capital offense.

As always, we come back to the words of Osama bin Laden: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” That’s really the only issue: The Islamists know our side have tanks and planes, but they have will and faith, and they reckon in a long struggle that’s the better bet. Most prominent Western leaders sound way too eager to climb into the weak-horse suit and audition to play the rear end. Consider, for example, the words of the Prince of Wales, speaking a few days ago at al-Azhar University in Cairo, which makes the average Ivy League nuthouse look like a beacon of sanity. Anyway, this is what His Royal Highness had to say to 800 Islamic “scholars”:

“The recent ghastly strife and anger over the Danish cartoons shows the danger that comes of our failure to listen and to respect what is precious and sacred to others. In my view, the true mark of a civilized society is the respect it pays to minorities and to strangers.”

That’s correct. But the reality is that our society pays enormous respect to minorities – President Bush holds a monthlong Ramadan-a-ding-dong at the White House every year. The immediate reaction to the slaughter of 9/11 by Western leaders everywhere was to visit a mosque to demonstrate their great respect for Islam. One party to this dispute is respectful to a fault: after all, to describe the violence perpetrated by Muslims over the Danish cartoons as the “recent ghastly strife” barely passes muster as effete Brit toff understatement.

Unfortunately, what’s “precious and sacred” to Islam is its institutional contempt for others. In his book “Islam And The West,” Bernard Lewis writes, “The primary duty of the Muslim as set forth not once but many times in the Quran is ‘to command good and forbid evil.’ It is not enough to do good and refrain from evil as a personal choice. It is incumbent upon Muslims also to command and forbid.” Or as the Canadian columnist David Warren put it: “We take it for granted that it is wrong to kill someone for his religious beliefs. Whereas Islam holds it is wrong not to kill him.” In that sense, those imams are right, and Karzai’s attempts to finesse the issue are, sharia-wise, wrong.

I can understand why the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would rather deal with this through back channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.

Read it all.

Perhaps in this time of Lent, some serious prayer and fasting – over and above what you or I might be doing – is what is called for, and not merely for Abdul Rahman.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey and Michelle Malkin, among others are writing on a report that the charges against Rahman have been dropped. Let us pray that this is real, and that he’s not simply going to be released into a situation wherein some random Islamist decides he needs to die, anyway. As Michelle says, this story is far from over. Writes Ed:

This isn’t the end of the story, and it may well be that Rahman faces more danger now than he did before. Earlier today, before the decision was announced, Afghan authorities transferred Rahman to a maximum-security prison where former Taliban soldiers and al-Qaeda terrorists are detained. One can imagine how precarious Rahman’s fate will be when word gets around the yard about his conversion to Christianity — which will probably be obvious five times a day when Rahman doesn’t kneel in the direction of Mecca. Even if he survives to be released, he faces a nation that overwhelmingly believes he deserves punishment for his religious beliefs, and some may feel it necessary to deliver it personally.

Is Islam capable of growing into religious tolerance? That’s the bugaboo.

RELATED: Sanctuary for Abdul Rahman!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Ellen

    I’ve been making a holy hour whenever I can at a local monastary and it’s often come to me – what if at some point I have to chose between Christ and my life? Back when I was a kid and heard about martyers back in school, I thought those days were in the past. Now I fear they may be on us again.

  • http://ohhowilovejesus.com Jeanette

    I pray that if I am ever in the situation Mr. Rahman is in I would do as he is doing now for the world to see. The world doesn’t have to see what I do, but I pray I would preserve my eternal life even at the expense of torture and death to my earthly body. As Paul wrote, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” May God be with this great man who is so serene and ready to die for his love of Jesus. Surely a great mansion has his name on it in Heaven and he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    They can only kill us once, but if we give in and renounce our faith we can be killed and tortured for eternity.

    God bless you, Mr. Rahman. May He have a band of angels to minister to you and usher you into heaven if that’s what His will is or usher you out of the jail without a hair on your head touched. You are a great testimony to His Name.

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  • http://www.eternityroad.info fporretto

    – Is Islam capable of growing into religious tolerance? –

    No, it is not. Islam’s core tenet is that the Qur’an is the literal Word of Allah, never to be amended. That book states explicitly in several places that the destiny of Islam is to become the only religion on Earth, and that it is all Muslims’ duty to bring that about by any means necessary.

    Something might emerge from that statement of aggression that has shed its militancy and become safe to have in the neighborhood, but by definition, since it will have renounced the inerrancy of the Qur’an, it will not be Islam.

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  • Jean

    I have grown to see Islam as the Devil’s religion. It misrepresents Christ Himself, and so it cannot ever be good or peaceful.

  • joeh

    Having lived in Turkey back in the late 60′s I can pretty well state with a certainty that the Islamic faith will not stop until they do not exist and are all in heaven with their virgins or we are all Muslim. 12 or 13 hundred years have passed and we are still at this same point. When they are not in power, they are preaching tolerance. Behind the scenes they are preaching this hate clearly found in this book called the Koran. When they gain power, they will show all their cards openly. It took 300 years for the Christian world to finally take up arms to defend what they still had left and now you would think the Crusades were the militant Christians going after the peace loving Muslims. Anyone who knows history knows that this war will only end when one or the other is dead. Sorry, but that is fact.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    You cannot ask Americans or Britons to expend blood and treasure to build a society in which a man can be executed for his choice of religion. You cannot tell a Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar that he, as a Christian, must sacrifice his life to create a Muslim state in which his faith is a capital offense.
    This is, I suggest, shortsighted. True, American or Brit blood, or the life of a Canadian may lead today to an oppressive Muslim state, which in turn may lead to the persecution and martyrdom of Abdul and others. However, it is also by and through that martyrdom that, tomorrow, other Muslims are strengthened and encouraged to also embrace Christ. And that is a good thing.
    We must remember that the salvation of mankind could not have occurred without the persecution and murder by crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It may very well be that, by and through his martyrdom, Abdul will start the process of converting many other Afghans and Muslims throughout the world. There can be no salvation without the cross.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
    Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
    He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
    Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
    Mt. 16:21-25
    May all the Holy Martyrs watch over and pray for Abdul.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    “I am serene. I have full awareness of what I have chosen. If I must die, I will die,” Abdul Rahman told the Rome daily La Repubblica, responding to questions sent to him via a human rights worker who visited him in prison.

    “Somebody, a long time ago, did it for all of us,” he added in a clear reference to Jesus.
    Thank you Abdul. I am happy and proud to call you my brother.

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  • JMC

    Cosmic gauntlet. What a metaphor. Yes, one has been thrown, and it’s not the first one, either. Teri Schiavo was another cosmic gauntlet. I called that one a test, one that we failed miserably. Where are they leading? I hesitate to say,for fear of sounding alarmist, but something deep inside says I must.
    Nearly 100 years ago, the Blessed Virgin appeared to three children in Portugal and gave us the plan for world peace. It was, and has been, largely ignored. Sister Lucia indicated that the consecration of the world was accepted by heaven, but that it was not the consecration of Russia as had been requested. JPII himself, on a visit to Fatima, made a reference to “the consecration which is still awaited.” The controversy rages on.
    20 years ago, the Virgin appeared in Akita, Japan, this time to a nun. In a virtual repeat of the warnings of Fatima, Our Lady warned of a coming chastisement if men do not turn to Our Lord. (I don’t think this is to be confused with the “Great Chastisement” associated with the Garabandal apparition, which, as far as I know, has still not been approved by the Church.) In the Akita visitation, a statue of the Virgin wept real tears.
    Present day: An unnamed location in Italy, and a parish in our own Los Angeles: Statues of the Virgin have been seen to weep tears of BLOOD. The Church has not ruled yea or nay on either of these events; alleged apparitions of or involving the Virgin have become so numerous that Mother Church is, wisely, being extra cautious about approving any of them. My personal belief, however, is that the bloody tears are a mute warning that we are approaching the Point of No Return, the point past which nothing will appease Our Lord any longer, and his wrath must be felt by all.
    As I have said before, in a comment to another post, events are in place for things to go either way in a great hurry: Resolution of this unholy mess and peace at last, or the unleashing of unholy terror such as the world has never seen. In the words of another commentor on another blog: Ladies and gentlemen, to our Rosaries!