Abdul Rahman, the Christian man who was in danger of being executed under Afghan's Islamic laws, was released and flown to Italy. The cabinet of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi granted his asylum plea in an expedited process. And just in the nick of time, as the BBC reports:
Suggestions he might be offered asylum have outraged politicians in Afghanistan.
The issue was discussed in the Afghan parliament on Wednesday, with almost all MPs in agreement that "his leaving Afghanistan must be prohibited", the AFP news agency reported.
Dr Assadullah Hymatyar, an MP from Logar province, told the BBC that parliament was planning to investigate the events that led to Mr Rahman's release.
Time's Rachel Morarjee, writing from Kabul, had a bizarre piece alleging that Rahman was a deadbeat, abusive dad who shamed his family. The title of the piece, by the way, is -- and I am not joking -- "Abdul Rahman's Family Values":
Rahman, 40, has become the poster boy for the Christian right and for religious freedom. Closer up, however, the picture painted by the local police who arrested him shows a candidate not quite ready for family values. Rather, a portrait emerges of a deadbeat dad with psychological problems who couldn't hold down a job, abused his daughters and parents and didn't pay child support.
First, what is this "poster boy for the Christian right" business? Does the Christian left not care about Rahman's fate? Or, if it does, does it get to be camped in the religious freedom camp? Why, then, does the Christian right get its own nonreligious freedom category?
Second, for all we know, these scandalous accusations against Rahman could be true. For all we know, for that matter, Rahman could have tortured small animals, robbed dying widows and taunted disabled children. But last time I checked, Rahman was not facing a death sentence for being unemployed, etc. He was facing a death sentence for converting from Islam. Printing the allegations, which have nothing to do with the international outrage his plight has caused, is about as appropriate as printing the sexual history of a rape victim.
No one was arguing that Rahman should live because he was a good person. Instead, people were arguing that Rahman should not be killed for converting from Islam. While more information about Rahman is needed and desirable, I'm not sure statements from the police reports that led to his life-threatening situation are the best character witnesses. What's more, the reporter never speaks with anyone who may find the police statements questionable. She also never speaks with anyone who thinks the allegations are irrelevant to the Muslim apostasy problem. It bears repeating that this issue is not going away just because the Italian government provided Rahman with sanctuary.