Posted by: Christian | March 12, 2009

Enemies of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Alhamdulillah! A great enemy of Islam and of the Afghan people has been apprehended and sentenced to 20 years in jail. Who is it? Jalaluddin Haqqani? Mullah Omar? Hekmatyar? Osama? Hafizullah Amin who has just been revealed to be secretly alive? Nope. None of the above. In fact, he is far more dangerous. His weapon against Islam? An online article from Iran that discusses the rights of women in Islam. As part of his plot to destroy Islam he sent copies of it to some of his friends at university. Thanks be to God be was stopped by the brave judiciary of Afghanistan. He was initially sentenced to death before nefarious foreign forces objected.

His name? Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh. Here is a photo of this dangerous young journalist/university student.

What this photo doesn’t show is Taliban fighters being released out the back door of this jail after serving their 6 month sentence for decapitating randomly selected civilians.

OK, sarcasm over. Human Rights Watch has the most recent update of Kambakhsh’s story (h/t Terry Glavin):

The court upheld the [life] sentence on February 11, 2009, without informing Kambakhsh or his lawyer, or allowing the lawyer to submit arguments in Kambakhsh’s defense. On March 7, the lawyer, Azfal Nooristani, discovered that the decision had been made.

I wrote much more about the case in this earlier post, including the likely ulterior motive for the death sentence (i.e., who his brother is). Other related news on the freedom of speech front from HRW:

Another journalist, Ghows Zalmai, is facing a 20-year jail sentence for blasphemy after publishing a translation of the Quran in Dari, one of the languages of Afghanistan. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing his case.

Well, we wouldn’t want Afghans to be able to read the Quran (Koran) now would we? That’s just too dangerous. They might find out about the wide range of rights that God has granted to man. But really, who needs to listen to God when you have the Supreme Court of Afghanistan?

So where is Karzai? HRW says:

“The Karzai government is allowing blasphemy cases against the press to go forward to keep the support of religious conservatives,” said Adams. “Afghans were silenced by the Taliban, and do not want to be silenced again. The government must recommit itself defend freedom of expression.”

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made a comment that Afghanistan is not going to become some “Central Asian Valhalla,” a reference to the Norse pagan afterlife version of heaven.  For now the descent into Norse hell, Helheim, seems more apt.

More background on the case here.

A letter by Yaqub Ibrahimi, his brother, here.


  1. You’re Great man!

    Let’s imagine that the translation of the Holy Quran is not the same as the original, why do we have to think that there has been a conspiracy here? It’s just a matter of translation. I have been myself a translator for about seven years, and I must say that no translated text is exactly the same as the original. The Quran has been mistranslated? Okay, fine, where? which part? try to improve that. But why you want to kill a man for that?

  2. Thanks for the comment Soroush.

    As for translating the Quran, the controversy is similar to the first translations of the Bible from Latin into French, German, English, etc.. Some church authorities were quite upset that any literate common person could then read the Bible for themselves, rather than just listen to a Priest.

  3. I cannot remember now (and sorry for that), but the permission for translation of the Holy Quran into Persian was obtained several centuries ago, through a collective consensus of the time’s religious leaders of Islam. But I wonder now after so many years, we have to still argue on this and put some people into jail.

    I, to some extent, think that this, too, something relating to some sort of fight between the two official and “national” languages in Afghanistan: Dari and Pashtu. Pashtuns cannot tolerate such a thing (translation of the Holy Quran into Persian). Maybe I am wrong.


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