In an earlier post, I discussed the plight of the man in Afghanistan facing death for converting to Christianity. Today, we have heard the official U.S. Government response to this absurdity. Our response came at a press conference held by Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns and Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. The liberators of Afghanistan from the Taliben, the promulgator of Freedom and Liberty, the up rooter of tyranny everywhere, had this to say, as reported by the BBC:
Speaking alongside Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah at a press conference in Washington, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns urged Afghanistan to respect Mr Rahman’s religious rights.
However, he did not ask for his immediate release and said he respected Afghan sovereignty.
"Our government is a great supporter of freedom of religion," Mr Burns said.
"As the Afghan constitution affords freedom of religion to all Afghan citizens, we hope very much that those rights, the right of freedom of religion, will be upheld in an Afghan court."
I am astonished that we are letting a little thing like "sovereignty" get in the way of expressing our outrage. If this is the kind of freedom we propose to bring to the world, I think we really need to get out of the invasion business. Freedom means freedom for the people of Afghanistan, not freedom for the Afghan government to persecute its citizens. Surely, we have more leverage than this with the Afghan government. I thought this kind of thinking in Afghanistan was what led them to provide safe harbor to Al Qaeda.
Then, there is the little matter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the declaration that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 to guarantee basic rights to all human beings. This declaration was adopted in clear response to the horrors of the Holocaust. Article 18 of the Declaration states:
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. [Emphasis added by me]
The United States, at a bare minimum, should insist upon the adherence to the UDHR in Afghanistan. Anything less should be unacceptable to us and we should say so.
As a Muslim American, I feel particular shame that this kind of ignorant justice is being pursued in Afghanistan in the name of Islam. All Muslims around the world should be at the forefront in rejecting this nonsense. Muslim Americans in particular, and all Americans in general, should lobby the U.S. Government to ensure this atrocity is not allowed to happen.