Sunday, October 23, 2005

Omnipotence of Blasphemy

In Afghanistan, the editor of a women's magazine has been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for writing an article deemed blasphemous against Islam. Mohaqiq Nasab, editor-in-chief of "Hoqooq-e-Zan" magazine (meaning "Women's Rights") is considering filing an appeal. According to Reuters, Nasab's article "questioned the need for harsh Islamic punishment for apostates, thieves and others" thereby prompting Hamid Karzai's religious advisers to propose a charge of blasphemy against him. I continue to be amazed when individuals in countries that have such sensitive laws to any and everything that could be deemed sacrilegious or blasphemous go out on a limb and attempt to comment on their society's shortcomings -- especially when the ultimate punishment is death. What's interesting is that many times, it is not even fully clear what the blasphemy was -- it's almost as if that particular charge can somehow be applied to absolutely anything, especially when someone has fallen out of favor with the establishment and needs to be "taught a lesson".

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