The Shredi Master

My Photo
Location: Iowa, Afghanistan

See my website...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

There's more to democracy than a purple finger.

Well, after all the toil and bloodshed in Afghanistan we supposedly help the Afghan people set up a democracy. But, it is an Islamic democracy. And of those two words, Islamic takes priority over democracy. Do you know of Abdul Rahman? You should; he is your Christian brother. Here's some of his story from the Chicago Tribune:

Abdul Rahman told his family he was a Christian. He told the neighbors, bringing shame upon his home. But then he told the police, and he could no longer be ignored.

Now, in a major test of Afghanistan's fledgling court system, Rahman, 42, faces the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity. Prosecutors say he should die. So do his family, his jailers, even the judge. Rahman has no lawyer. Jail officials refused to let anyone see Rahman on Monday, despite permission granted by the country's justice minister.

"We will cut him into little pieces," said Hosnia Wafayosofi, who works at the jail, as she made a cutting motion with her hands. "There's no need to see him..."

...Prosecutor Abdul Wasi said Rahman had been told repeatedly to repent and come back to Islam, but Rahman refused. Wasi called Rahman a traitor.
"He is known as a microbe in society, and he should be cut off and removed from the rest of Muslim society and should be killed," Wasi told the court.

Rahman said he had surrendered himself to God. "I believe in the holy spirit," he said. "I believe in Christ. And I am a Christian."

Judge Ansarullah Mawlawizada, who is handling the case, said he normally takes two months to decide on cases. But because this case is so serious, he expected to hold another hearing within the next week and make a decision.

Mawlawizada, who kept Rahman's green Bible on his desk, said he respected all religions. He emphasized that he did not favor the aggressiveness of the Taliban, who cut the hands and feet off criminals in a soccer stadium. But he said Rahman had to repent.

"If he doesn't regret his conversion, the punishment will be enforced on him," the judge said. "And the punishment is death."

From the Globe and Mail:

"It is a crime to convert to Christianity from Islam. He is teasing and insulting his family by converting," Judge [Alhaj Ansarullah Mawawy] Zada said. "The Attorney-General is emphasizing he should be hung."

Prison officials refused requests to interview Mr. Rahman, but one of his cellmates said he was resolute.

"He is standing by his words," said Sayad Miakel, 30. "He will not become a Muslim again."
Another cellmate said Mr. Rahman seemed depressed.
"He keeps looking up to the sky, to God," said Khalylullah Safi, 31.

When Afghanistan set up its new constitution it made sure to state that no law could be passed that was inconsistent with Islam. Sharia law, which governs many Islamic countries, says that conversion from Islam is to be punished by death. This means that Afghanistan is in direct violation of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 18. Article 18 reads: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." Once again, the "religion of peace" shows its true colors and emphasizes what "tolerance" means to Muslims.

Germany, Italy and now Denmark's leaders have all clearly voiced their outrage over the issue.

Denmark: Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller, Conservatives, Berlingske, March 22:
“This in no way corresponds with Afghanistan’s constitution which says that the Afghans have Freedom of Religion.”

Spokesman on Foreign Issues, Naser Khader, Social Liberals, Jyllands-Posten, March 21:
"The government must act on this matter and show that Denmark is at the forefront in the fight for Human Rights and international rule of law. That is why we are in Afghanistan. If necessary, the Danish forces in country must liberate Abdul Rahman and offer him asylum in Denmark. This case underlines the need for Sharia law to be fought wherever it is found.”

Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini on Tuesday said Italy would raise the case of Abdul Rahman with the Afghan ambassador in Rome, European Union diplomatic representatives in Afghanistan and EU human rights bodies .

Fini said he would voice to the ambassador "the thorough disapproval" of the Italian government if there was a "possibility" of Rahman being sentenced to death. Italy is the de facto EU diplomatic chief in Afghanistan because Austria, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, does not have a mission there .

Italy has some 2,000 troops in the 10,000-strong NATO-led International Security and Assistance force (ISAF), which began peacekeeping operations in and near Kabul a year after a US-led coalition drove out the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime in 2002 .
Rome held ISAF's six-month rotating command until last month. It is leading the reconstruction of the Afghan judicial system and has also contributed to other reconstruction projects such as roads, hospitals and schools .

Germany said Tuesday it would appeal directly to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and "do everything in its power" to save the life of Rahman, who returned home from Germany when the Taliban was overthrown.

I am ashamed to say that until today neither the United States President nor the State Department uttered a word about Rahman's case. Unfortunately President Bush shows again that he is a Politician first and a Christian second. Word today is that the president is "deeply troubled" however. I'm sure that within the next few days some polling can be done to help GW determine if the American people think he should put the US behind Rahman.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack did address the Rahman case at his press briefing earlier today. In true political fashion he said:

"Previously under the Taliban, anybody considered an apostate was subject to torture and death. Right now you have a legal proceeding that's underway in Afghanistan and we urge that that legal proceeding take place in a transparent matter and we're going to watch the case closely."


"It's a constitutional matter so it's a legal question. So what that tells you is that there are two sides to this."

So, how can we act to save the life of Abdul Rahman? There are several ways: Call the Afghan Embassy in Washington at (202)483-6410. You may get put on hold for 5 minutes, but they have been responsive. You can also call the Whitehouse at 202-456-1111. Or:

Write the embassy of Afghanistan:
Ambassador Said T. JawadEmbassy of Afghanistan2341 Wyoming Avenue, NWWashington, DC

Contact the State Department:
U.S. Department of State2201 C Street NWWashington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard:202-647-4000

Debbie Schlussel says this of calling the Afghan Embassy:

After reading the letter from your reader, I, too, called the Afghani Embassy. The man I spoke with said that they got 50 calls about this today, and that they have no authority to save the man. They said there are only two people who can stop this: Mr. Shinwari, the Chief Justice, who is an old man and an intolerant Taliban remnant; or President Karzai, who can--but has not--removed him. Nice to know that all our soldiers' efforts and U.S. funds are being negated by a powerful remnant of the Taliban...

The bottom line is that we need to help Rahman and address Islambecausecasue they don't want to play hangman with you. Well... maybe they do.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On the perils and benefits of Ignorance.

Now that we’re down to a month before the wedding I figured I should get started on the two big house projects that have to be done before the I Do’s are said. Actually I started a long time ago, as I had to custom order the doors and the locksets. That is/was the first big challenge. The doors came in on Tuesday and Jack and I picked them up from Lowe’s. As the loading homeboy got the unit outside, I noticed something. Both doors should be double bored (have two holes).. and yet… only one does. Arrgghh! After chatting with the manager and Patrick, my Lowe’s millwork buddy, they agreed to go 10% off and throw in the cutting tool set required to drill the remaining holes. Okay, one obstacle down. I took off work a bit earl Friday to pick up supplies and meet Jack to install the doors. We got started at 4 or so and took the old door out and started to remove the old framing etc. Things were going slow, so I called my friend Jeremy, who has a LOT of construction experience and he made it over at 6 or so.

This story could be 10 pages long, so I’ll abridge it for you. We first found that there was a concrete foundation in the wall that wouldn’t allow the doors to fit in. Dang. So, after a few careful smacks with a good sledge hammer, we removed some of the concrete. By the grace of God, the door was going to fit in the remaining space. SO… the next big deal was finding that the window above the door A) has no real header and B) was leaking water and millions of Asian Beetles. AND there is a porch roof that comes into the house just over the door header and – guess what – it is rotten to the core from water leaking in from the porch roof. It also contains a small mecca of beetles. So, with luck, we pulled that out without the porch falling and killing us. The new header we added was a sight to behold. You could balance a tank on that beam. Some would call it overkill, but we called it a perfect fit. ANYWAY, a new problem arises: I measured the inside and assumed that the outside was going to be the same. WRONG. There was wood planking around the single door and then the aluminum siding for the house starts. Well, we had to cut back the siding on both sides. That was not one of my all time favorite things to do. About 1:00am we got the door in and shimmed and screwed in. We had them in and closing by 2am.

I pulled the doors off the frame and Ang’s dad came over and started to paint them Saturday morning. Five coats and 3 days later, he was able to leave. I think we added a quarter of an inch with paint alone. Great paint job though. If you need an amazing painter, call Dennis Thompson. He also managed to paint our new vanity as well.

While he was painting I decided to fill the gaps with low expansion foam. Bad idea. The doors were finally almost dry on Monday night, so I decided to put them back on and try putting the hardware on. I started with the dummy door and got it back together and on and closing and then drilled out the top and bottom for the locks. All was fine. Then I added the second door. They don’t close. Not by a long shot. The “low expansion” foam expanded a little more than it’s “low” rating. My dad came over and helped out as we tried to get the doors to close and fit together. I removed all the foam and we added some more screws and finally – everything fit.

The good part of being ignorant is you’ll tackle a project bigger than yourself or your knowledge. Though I did have a great book to go from (which was a help as the instructions sucked.) You remain optimistic simply because- you don’t know any better. The bad part is, you think putting a door in will take 3 hours. And it does. It’s the 7 hours of old door removal that you don’t plan for. Anyway, I’d like to think the benefits outweigh the costs when it comes to being slightly ignorant in construction. We’ll find out. I still have the bathroom to redo from scratch. Three weeks and counting….