Thursday, October 23, 2008

Talking About Blasphemy...

This news item from Afghanistan fits rather well with the discussion in my yesterday's post about women and religion. In that I pointed out the enormous difficulties in debating women's rights with fundamentalists of any stripe. This is the sort of thing that can happen when things get very nasty:

An Afghan appeals court overturned a death sentence Tuesday for a journalism student accused of blasphemy for asking questions in class about women's rights under Islam. But the judges still sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

The case against 24-year-old Parwez Kambakhsh, whose brother has angered Afghan warlords with his own writing, has come to symbolize Afghanistan's slide toward an ultraconservative view on religious and individual freedoms.

"I don't accept the court's decision," Kambakhsh told The Associated Press as he was leaving the courtroom. "It is an unfair decision."

The case can be appealed to the Supreme Court, the highest court in Afghanistan.

As the linked article points out, Kambakhsh may have been harassed because of his brother's actions. Nevertheless, the lesson to be learned from this court case inside Afghanistan is a fairly obvious one.

By the way, didn't we liberate the women in Afghanistan? I distinctly remember something about that.