Monday, February 23, 2009

Progress in Afghanistan

When it comes to faith-based oppression, his has to be considered a reprise of one of the classics of the form:

An appeals court in Afghanistan upheld 20-year prison sentences Sunday for two men who published a translation of the Quran ...

The controversial text is a translation of Islam's holy book into an Afghan language without the original Arabic verses alongside. Muslims regard the Arabic Quran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Quran itself, and it is believed a mistranslation could warp God's word.

A host of Muslim clerics in this conservative Islamic state have condemned the translation — which was published in 2007 and handed out for free — as blasphemous and accused its publishers of setting themselves up as false prophets.

The appeals court found the men guilty of modifying the Quran — a crime punishable by death. However, the three-judge panel reiterated a lower court ruling giving the men 20 years each.
In 1536, for the crime of making an English translation of the Bible, William Tyndale was tied to a stake, strangled to death, and burned to ash. In that case as in the present case in Afghanistan, the punishment was considered lenient in that strangling kills more quickly than burning, just as spending 20 years in Afghan prison is better than death.

This is what passes for mercy, justice, and progress in the faith-addled jurisdictions of the earth, then and now.

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