As I predicted last week, Abdul Rahman will be released even as the case is being returned to the prosecutor, ostensibly for the purpose of finding stronger, more convicting evidence. Of course, all this is taking place as people and leaders from all around the world are pressuring the Afghans to stop this trial and execution from occurring at all. Let's step back and analyze in the cool light of reason what is really happening.
First, Afghanistan now has a constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. Rahman, the defendant in this case, chose to become a Christian sixteen years ago. In the course of a custody battle, his family reported that fact to Islamic authorities and he was charged with being an apostate from and traitor to Islam, a crime under sha'aria law punishable by death. Rahman himself confessed his Christian belief to the court and was in possession of a Bible. This, in addition to the testimony of several witnesses, should be enough to convict him. There was some silliness about trying to prepare an insanity defense, but it was dropped when it became obvious that the defendant is at least as sane, and probably saner than, his defense attorneys. Then why did the court decide to release him?
According to the Islamic judge in the case, if the constitution does not specifically address a question, then sha'aria will prevail. Hence, the arrest of Rahman in the first place. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has had nothing public to say so far nor has any elected official. Would it not seem, therefore, that sha'aria law should take its course? The question is why isn't it doing so?
Second, it seems obvious to this observer that the judge, prosecutor, and any other interested party, that Rahman has already been sentenced to death. Like a man whose life is destroyed by a false accusation of child sexual abuse, the mere accusation and his own subsequent confession are enough to sentence Rahman to death. The court, rather than face the severe criticism which would surely follow the carrying out of a death sentence for what most in the world would not consider a crime, decided to release Rahman in the full knowledge that he is likely to be executed anyway. Perhaps by a relative, perhaps by an Islamic fanatic, perhaps by an angry mob.
Please don't think I am comparing Abdul Rahman to Jesus Christ, but I am reminded of Pilate who found no guilt in Jesus and washed his hands of the matter knowing full well what was about to happen. The judge, the prosecutor, the sha'aria system of Islamic law, are all washing their hands of the matter knowing what will be the result. They can thus show the world how tolerant and forgiving they are even though no such language appears in their religion except in the negative, i.e., DO NOT tolerate..., DO NOT forgive..., and so on.
I am going to pray for Abdul Rahman, and urge others to do likewise, because I believe the stand he has chosen to take will soon result in his death. I am going to pray that the Lord spare him, but if not that He take his soul and that He fill me with faith such as that of Abdul Rahman. The mantle of martyrdom has fallen on this unknown, small man and he has accepted it with quietude and grace. We could all do worse than admire such as he.
Addendum: The Christian Peacemaker Team organization, the parent group of the three peace activist captives who were rescued recently by coalition forces, published this back-handed thank you on the CPT website.
"I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force but I pay tribute to [the soldiers] courage and thank those who played a part in my rescue.... There's a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person. It's the ordinary people of Iraq you should be talking to, the people who have suffered so much over many years and still await the stable and just society they deserve."
-Norman Kember statement to reporters 03/25/06
Prior to this they hadn't been 'rescued', they had been 'freed'.
Shouldn't they be boarding a plane for Afghanistan soon? I hope they do, I wish I could, but I'm not counting on it.