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Internet Censorship's First Death Sentence?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the that's-a-bit-harsh-i-think dept.

Censorship 475

mrogers writes "A journalism student in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death by a Sharia court for downloading and sharing a report criticizing the treatment of women in some Islamic countries. The student was accused of blasphemy and tried without representation. According to Reporters Without Borders, sixty people are currently in jail worldwide for criticizing governments online, fifty of them in China, but this may be the first time someone has been sentenced to death for using the internet. Internet censorship is on the rise worldwide, according to The OpenNet Initiative."

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475 comments

1st censorship death sentence (4, Insightful)

mwasham (1208930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275428)

But not the first death sentence due to the idiocy of sharia law.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (5, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275464)

True, but considering the country was recently 'liberated' and democracy was 'brought' to it, it is a little weird.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (4, Insightful)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275484)

That is why democracy fails. It is literally two wolves and one lamb voting on what is for dinner. A constitutional republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote*.

*paraphrasing ben franklin

Re:1st censorship death sentence (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276008)

Hah. Pure idiocy. If the nation that is voting is that fractured, it has no business being a nation. The underlying assumption of democracy is that the vote is done by a general public that has some common interest, some common denominator (even if it the lowest).

Besides, your analogy is completely misleading. What if it's 2 lambs and a wolf voting on what's for dinner? You're implying that the minority has an inherent right to protect itself via violence from the outcome of a vote. Do you really want to open the door to wahabists buying guns and contesting votes via shootouts because in America, they're the lamb in the minority? Didn't think so.

Do you understand all of the words you are using? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276056)

Really? Literally?

Are you literally as dumb as a box of rocks? Or is the word I am looking for "figuratively"?

Re:1st censorship death sentence (5, Insightful)

mwasham (1208930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275506)

Unfortunately, if you give a bunch of religous zealots democracy they will vote to stone you to death and revert to a dictatorship.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (5, Funny)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275730)

Unfortunately, if you give a bunch of religous zealots democracy they will vote to stone you to death and revert to a dictatorship.
I am utterly confused. I never expected such anti-Americanism on /. You are talking about the US, right?

Re:1st censorship death sentence (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275748)

I am utterly confused. I never expected such anti-Americanism on /. You are talking about the US, right?
Eh, it kinda works for half the countries you hear about on the news these days.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (3, Insightful)

mwasham (1208930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275810)

To compare the US with countries that utilize Sharia law shows your ignorance.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (2, Interesting)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275822)

Unfortunately, if you give a bunch of religous zealots democracy they will vote to stone you to death and revert to a dictatorship.
I am utterly confused. I never expected such anti-Americanism on /. You are talking about the US, right?
The United States in not a democracy, never has been. Democracy is an insanely stupid form of government. What we have is a constitutional republic. As another poster said, perhaps it is our actual system of government we should be exporting, and not the sanctioned mob rule that is democracy.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276128)

It's the idea of our system of government that we should be exporting, if anything. The last thing we need to be doing is teaching other societies to copy our current government.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (4, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275778)

Which is why democracy can't just suddenly be implemented. The people have to want it, leaders included (or, at least, the majority of them). The U.S. democracy (or, I should say, democratic republic) only got started because the people at the time didn't want a monarchy or the like and would not have immediately voted to change it back (not like votes matter all that much as it is, they only put people in power to "represent" you).

In short, this just helps to prove that the neo-con idealogical goal of converting the world to democracy is misguided at best.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276102)

Interestingly, rejection of monarchies WAS rejection of church infection of state.

Monarchs were believed to have derived their power from divine grace from God.

The colonists rejected that, and instead invented a new system where power was supposed to have been "derived from the consent of the governed," as they phrased it.

It was a great idea, to kick religion out of government.

Now, all we have to do is complete the implementation of the colonists' vision.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275800)

Yeah, try asking the Mormons.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276096)

That is one of the things that so many people fail to understand. You cannot give a country democracy. When a critical mass of people in the country are free within their own minds then they will take steps to become free. Then we can jump in and help. If the people are not mentally/culturally ready for democracy then it won't work. They will just vote who they are told to vote for by their imam,priest,televangelist,newscaster,celebrity. We have a different level of the same problem here in the US, people vote based on their emotions [webmd.com] and we end up making some really stupid national political decisions as well.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (5, Informative)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276150)

Unfortunately, if you give a bunch of religous zealots democracy they will vote to stone you to death and revert to a dictatorship.

Actually, this case is about political censorship; it isn't about religion, or even about the journalism student at all. The student's brother is a journalist who has written pieces critical of one of Afghanistan's political factions, they haven't been able to get him, so they resorted to arresting the journalism student and trumped up some charges. This is about suppressing political dissent; there was a story about this on NPR a few days ago. It's unlikely that the student is in real danger of execution: apparently Karzai has to OK any executions. He doesn't strike me as that kind of a guy, but even assuming he was completely lacking in moral fiber, it's doubtful he would: doing so would cede power to his rivals and piss off his international allies. But I agree that Sharia is an idea whose time came and went in the Dark Ages, along with burning witches and trial by duel. When your court claims to execute God's Will, that gives it power that is difficult to check, and as seen here, that leads to abuses.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (3, Insightful)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275754)

They have democracy now, no quotation marks. The people of Afghanistan have decided that they want to follow a certain set of laws as a sovereign country, how stupid those laws are is none of our business.
But please, let's stop letting them into European countries and the USA, because those entities are also democratic, and once people who believe those laws are just are in majority due to low birth rate in most of them and high immigration rate, we will have to let them democratically choose to obey the same set of laws and make us obey them as well.
You are mistaking "democracy" for "western set of values".
I'm a very tolerant person, but democracy isn't about tolerance, it's about imposing the will of the majority upon everyone else.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275758)

Just goes to show you that Democracy and Liberty do not necessarily come hand-in-hand.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275836)

I'm Canadian - does this mean our troops are over there dying to support fundamentalist, fucked up, bullshit Sharia law?

I'll be emailing / calling my MP tomorrow if this is the case. I suggest others do the same. WTF!

Re:1st censorship death sentence (1)

knutkracker (1089397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275972)

considering the country was recently 'liberated' and democracy was 'brought' to it, it is a little weird.
Not really. Democracy means giving people the vote, i.e. they can then choose their own laws. The majority of people in Afghanistan are muslims of the hard-line variety, just as they always have been. Their views have been formed over the course of generations and an invasion, particularly one where a lot of civilians were killed by the 'liberators' is not going to change that and may actually entrench their view of themselves as not-westerners even further.

If you think about it, NOT voting for sharia law to be enacted, and subsequently following through would be the weird outcome here.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275540)

US or Canada should drop a bomb on that court.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275772)

"A journalism student in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death by a Sharia court for downloading and sharing a report criticizing the treatment of women in some Islamic countries."

Those up-ity women deserve this. Now they are being critical of the rightful and proper judgment of men. Here is another example of a women, in this case, doing research, and educating others!

Women shouldn't be allowed to read or use computers, after all they only have one purpose.

But it is a peaceful religion!!! (0, Flamebait)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275914)

Coming to a country near you...unless the wimps of the would start squishing these morons like the pigs they are. As a matter of fact, take a page from General Pershing and do what he did. Line up about 50 of them. Dip bullets in pig blood. Execute all but one. Take the bodies, toss then into a common grave, pour pig blood & pig body parts on them, cover them up (while the one you let live watches). Let the only survivor go......they did that in the late 1919's era.......NOT ONE more act of terrorism for a long time.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (1)

coolhaus (186994) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275998)

Actually, his real crime was converting it to hard copy and trying to use sneakernet to distribute it.

Re:1st censorship death sentence (1)

WilliamX (22300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276004)

Long before this was posted, the Afghan senate voted to overturn the death sentence.

Thank god the USA invaded that country (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275486)

and brought democracy huh?

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275530)

I to am gratified to know that the billions of dollars borrowed, and that will have be repaid by my children, were so well spent.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (4, Insightful)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275594)

I to am gratified to know that the billions of dollars borrowed, and that will have be repaid by my children, were so well spent.
Your children will be paying the interest on that loan. It's unlikely they'll be able to afford to pay the whole thing right off.
Now your grandchildren... MAYBE they might pay it off.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (1)

esecasco (1160055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275642)

Not at the rate things are going...his children will have a bigger loan to deal with, his grandchildren will have an ever larger one, until the snowball effect hits his great great great grandchildren and they finally say, "Fuck it, I'm not paying for this shit"

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (1)

mwasham (1208930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275532)

Yes.. Shame on America for not realizing these religious maggots aren't intelligent enough for democracy.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (0, Flamebait)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275662)

Shame on America for believing that people can change ? That they deserve the second chance that saddam/muslims weren't going to give them ?

Shame ! Shame ! Shame on America !

Also please don't refer to it as "sharia". Refer to it as "islam". There is NO POINT where islam stops and sharia begins. The two are one and the same.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275922)

Woah there, settle back and do some reading.

Afghanistan != Saddam. Saddam was Iraq, or are you incapable of dealing with locations outside of the USA other than "Europe", "Asia" and "Middle East"? The right to change was given, the Muslims chose to stick with Sharia law. You could of course give them the third chance, and the fourth and so on until they happen to make a choice which is 'correct'. Finally, Sharia law is not the same as Islam. It's quite possible to be Islamic and not follow Sharia, as it's possible to be Jewish and not follow all 613 laws in the Torah.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276070)

sharia means islamic law or legal system... ignorant ass

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275848)

Well, strange as it may seem, the things have improved: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Life_under_the_Taliban_regime/ [wikipedia.org]

Now its just your average Islamic theocracy, instead of a particularly nasty one. Saudi Arabias, Afganistans etc of today are not so different from France or Spain during the middle ages. I guess it just what happens when religious zealots, be it Islamic or Christian, have the power.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (3, Insightful)

FlatEric521 (1164027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275870)

I suppose this helps prove that you cannot force people to change their beliefs regardless of the political system they operate under. Sure, the US invaded and changed the government in Afghanistan, but you can't change the religious beliefs of the the people living there. For many of the followers of Islam in the Middle East, things like blasphemy are punishable by death. Those beliefs are reflected in how government responded, since even "democratically" elected leaders hold the same beliefs.

What I consider the bigger concern in this article is that the separation of Church and State as it is understood in the US is not being practiced in this newly started democracy. Here we have an instance where a religion calls for death to blasphemers. The government, showing that it is clearly backing a specific religion, was going along with it. That was what the Taliban represented in the first place. They ruled the country according to what they understood their religion dictated. The US may have changed the way that people achieve power in the country, but it seems that elements of the Taliban are still alive and well in this non-Taliban government.

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (2, Insightful)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276028)

It's hardly the fault of the United States. Afghanistan is such a backward country that has a history of Islamic law that unless the US decided to just dictate what they do there's no way of preventing this. The US basically attempted to make a compromise by setting up a government which had basic protections and a moderate foundation. However there was a need to work with what they had and provide sovereignty to the country: This is the result. The people basically want it this way more than they don't.

It's similar to the refounding of japan that kept the emperor: it was reconized that it simply would not be doable without that because there was universal opposition. In this case the thing they had to compromise on was to allow religious law to be part of government justice. Failure to do so would have lead to what happened to the Russians.

This can hardly be blamed on US policy considering what they had to work with. Remember, Afghanistan remains a tribal society in most areas, and you can only do so much keeping that governed. Breaking from traditional laws would likely cause things to be even worse.

However I highly doubt this guy will be put to death. It's too much of an international incident. Plus the US is still highly involved in the government there and protection in general. More likely, he'll quietly be deported and they'll try to keep the news story on the down-low.


If I were to blame anything I'd blame that flithy hypocritical religion of islam... Oh I'm sorry I'm not allowed to say that, right? Yeah, it's no worse than any other religion in any way and it's all the fault of the united states that we forced them to be like that and we use too much oil and consumerism is bad and jews and christians have hurt people too and George W Bush is the devil and I'm white so I'm bad bad bad. Sorry for offending Islam. It's wonderful... yep that's it. I guess that makes me a racist for saying that (especially considering islam is not a race). So sorry for my ignorance. Now tell me how narrow-minded I am..

Re:Thank god the USA invaded that country (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276112)

Now tell me how narrow-minded I am..

You're so narrowminded that you could peer through a keyhole with both eyes!

(Sorry ... I just wanted to use that line.)

Place the blame? (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276082)

There is something that bothers me here.

We read a story about a religious court issuing a secret death sentence to a journalist for reading and distributing ideas about women's rights... yet the majority of the posts regarding this issue are critical of the United States?

Doesn't this seem a bit twisted to you? I'm not defending the US actions in Iraq, or Afghanistan, I am only saying that perhaps that is not the subject of this debate.

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that when we assign blame, as a community, in the potential murder of this young man, we should blame the murderers... otherwise this looks largely like the criticism of Israel:

- You should not bomb their militants... it kills the militants and sometimes civilians.
- But they try to kill our civilians every day!
- Yes, but you are better armed and richer, so why don't you defend yourselves?

Or here's another good one:

Two social workers are walking at night in a dangerous part of town. They hear moans from the alley, and they come upon a man who has been severely beaten, robbed, and stabbed repeatedly. One of them social worker looks at the man who's mouthing "help" and says to the other: "Wow, the people who did this to him must be oppressed and need our help".

Sharia law FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275496)

What could possibly go wrong?

Nope (4, Informative)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275520)

The Afghan Senate decided to go back on it's original decision [independent.co.uk]

But the first story / headline is much more likely to bring in people from the RSS readers / aggregators etc. Not that internet censorship isn't a topic worth discussing; but the latest information is more useful than this misleading summary.

Sheesh.

Re:Nope (1)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275660)

Yeah, people should click through before posting summaries like this... Extremely misleading and already 2 days old.

Re:Nope (1)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275774)

Don't worry, they'll fix it in the dupe.

Re:Nope (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275786)

But if it's different, it's not a dupe, now is it?

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276108)

Not if it's a retraction, but if it is the same story merely headlined/summarized correctly, then yes, it is a fact a dupe, even if it is 'different'.

Still disturbing as fuck (4, Insightful)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275796)

The fact that they made this "original" decision at all shows what kind of government we've installed/allowed to rise to power in Afghanistan.

Re:Still disturbing as fuck (4, Insightful)

JustASlashDotGuy (905444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276116)

The fact that they made this "original" decision at all shows what kind of government we've installed/allowed to rise to power in Afghanistan.
I am torn. Half of me agrees with you, while the other half is in conflict. As sad as it is, this government is much better than what they had before. In the past, the Taliban would have just killed you and then gone about their day. There would no time for an appeal by the international community nor local population.

The government isn't the problem, it's the politicians that are currently making up the government. The framework is in place for the elected officials to lose their standing as soon as the next election comes up. It would not necessarily be a bad thing in my eyes for an entirely new senate to be elected. One side may claim its a failure of the government 'we set up', however I would see it as a beneficial option given to the citizens as a result of the government 'we set up'.

We didn't select their leaders. They selected their own leaders. The US cannot be blamed because the citizens didn't choose wisely nor know how their elected representatives would act. Picking candidates wisely comes with time and experience; many of us in the US still haven't learned how to look past the flashy smear commercials during our election time.

They are still a very young democracy with new ideals being forced upon them. There will be many more examples of this in the future. When/If Iraq's democracy takes hold, I guarantee you will see the same stories from there as well. It's up to all of us an in international community to tactfully and politically inform them that they are being idiots when they do something as idiotic as this.

Re:Nope (1)

dookiesan (600840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275886)

The summary is not misleading in that he was sentenced to death. Only after outrage and a petition was it reversed as a "technical mistake".

What exactly is your point? That things aren't so bad there after all? "Sheesh"...He was almost killed for downloading a document about women's rights! People make such a big deal over nothing don't they. It's good that you don't overreact though.

Sheesh.

Behead those that insult Islam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275936)

Behead those that insult Islam [wordpress.com]

This is future of Europe.
Demographics are destiny. Europe refuses to have children and import more and more Islamic Immigrants who they refuse in integrate into their society.
Do you think they will tax themselves to pay for your retirement and entitlements?
The future of Europe is a brown hand pulling white life support plug out of the wall.

The Danish protests
The French annual car burning riots.
The Hate Speech laws that prevent debate on the issue.
Mass immigration out of the the UK to Canada & Australia.

In my lifetime I will see cross-amputations in Trafalgar Square.
The children of Britain will be slaves.

Re:Nope (1)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275942)

The Afghan Senate decided to go back on it's original decision But the first story / headline is much more likely to bring in people from the RSS readers / aggregators etc. Not that internet censorship isn't a topic worth discussing; but the latest information is more useful than this misleading summary. Sheesh.
I'm glad to see that there has been some progress in this case, but as both articles noted, the likelihood that Sayed Pervez Kambaksh will be able to get adequate legal representation given the threats against anyone who aids him is in doubt. Furthermore, even if he is ultimately adjudged innocent and freed, there have been numerous threats on his life and the lives of his family. In the near run, at least, I don't see a happy resolution to this case.

For an interesting and beautifully written literary peek into life in Afghanistan, I recommend "The Kite Runner" http://www.amazon.com/Kite-Runner-Khaled-Hosseini/dp/1594480001 [amazon.com].

Re: Follow your own advice (2, Informative)

Dannonman (1232084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275952)

Er...why don't you read your own article (obviously, you were too busy to read the /. summary to note which governmental body is involved)? FYI, in the Afghan system, there is a difference between a sharia court and the Senate. The Senate voted to support the sentence, and in the article you link to, then reversed its support. The guy still has a death sentence awaiting him until a higher court reverses it.

nice religion ya got there, guys (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275524)

I think the NATO forces need to broaden the scope of their guns.

Your religion sucks. Why are you so afraid of women, of criticissm, of your own damn shadows?

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (2, Insightful)

brezel (890656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275628)

I think the NATO forces need to broaden the scope of their guns.

Your religion sucks. Why are you so afraid of women, of criticissm, of your own damn shadows?
thank god no-one was ever killed on behalf of christianity...

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (3, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275680)

thank god no-one was ever killed on behalf of christianity...
Who said Christianity doesn't suck too? You really think that's a fucking defense of the bullshit that is Sharia?

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275884)

Defense? no. Religion sucks. Period. The end. Get rid of it.

EVERY religion sucks! (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275900)

thank god no-one was ever killed on behalf of christianity...

No, let's say thank "god" no one was ever killed on behalf of religious skepticism, or agnosticism, or whatever you call it.


Any kind of blind belief, where faith never bends to reason, is evil, no matter if it's faith in Islam or Jesus Christ.


Robert Heinlein said it best, in "If This Goes On -":


"Yet you are willing to assert your own religious convictions and to use them as a touchstone to judge my conduct. So I repeat: who told you? What hill were you standing on when the lightning came down from heaven and illuminated you? Which archangel carried the message?"


"I believe that a man has an obligation to be merciful to the weak ... patient with the stupid ... generous with the poor. I think he is obliged to lay down his life for his brothers, should it be required of him. But I don't propose to prove any of these things; they are beyond proof. And I don't demand that you believe as I do."


"I believe very strongly in freedom of religion - but I think that that freedom is best expressed as freedom to keep quiet. From my point of view, a great deal of openly expressed piety is insufferable conceit."

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275958)

Right, because it seems almost every day, these days, that someone is executed for challenging Christian dogma.

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276010)

Straw man. The AC, while inflammatory, made no assertion of Christianity's superiority, nor any mention of other religions. Pointing out Christianity's history does not legitimately shut down his argument.

Oh, and don't feed the trolls.

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276026)

Yes, they were, in th 1300s. If Afghanistan is aiming for the level of development of Europe 700 years ago, then they are right on track.

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276060)

thank god no-one was ever killed on behalf of christianity...

I've got some seriously bad news for you then...

http://home.comcast.net/~pegbowman/BritishSaints/LatimerHugh.htm

http://home.comcast.net/~pegbowman/BritishSaints/CranmerThomas.htm

http://home.comcast.net/~pegbowman/BritishSaints/RidleyNicholas.htm

http://home.comcast.net/~pegbowman/BritishSaints/TyndaleWilliam.htm

all famous men, all martyred for their Beliefs... I just hope you were being ironic... as irony doesn't work very well in forum postings...

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275990)

Your religion sucks too (assuming you are a Christian). Living under Islamic law is not so different from living under Christian law (see most of European history from 5th to about 15th century). In Bible "god" explicitly demands killing people for worshiping other gods and other silly things like adultery and working on Sabbath.

The only reason we don't have a similar situation to Afghanistan in the West today is that we (including those calling themselves "Christian") ignore most of what Bible says and choose not to live according to its rules. If we didn't, we would still have daily stoning sessions for blasphemy, adultery, homosexuality etc

Re:nice religion ya got there, guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276094)

and the reason for this is the verse Rend to Caesar what is Caesar's. Christendom is far far different than the Islamic Caliphate. but... whatever. I always am amused that when Islam's nasty side rears its ugly head over and over again in this modern age, there is always the loud chorus of BUT BUT BUT Christianity.

What about BUT BUT BUT Judaism for a change... Or but but but Stalinism... or But But But the Greek Empire.

Humans are, by nature a warring breed.

I like to think nowadays capitalism, religious freedoms, etc are helping to prevent more war than in the past. The USA has been and still is a force for good on this planet and through it, it has improved the lives of billions of people.

but we so dare drop a few bits of water on a blindfolded terrorist (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a terrorist) caught in battle, and his state refusing him, then the USA somehow becomes EVIL...

Spare me.

Didn't we invade to stop this? (1)

wooden pickle (1006975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275534)

Oh wait, there's fossil fuel interests there too.

Let's bomb 'em! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275614)

Oh, wait...

its things like these... (1)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275634)

that lead me to become an atheist. More and more it becomes evident that religious teachings are being used to push racism, censorship, other forms of hatred and oppressing those who have beliefs against societal norms.
I personally beleve that religion going the way of the belief that the earth is flat will be a big step forward for humanity. This way we don't have ridiculous fairytales and superstitions getting in the way of education, human rights, science and technology.

Re:its things like these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275722)

There's a third way, Deism, a belief in God with a simultanous rejection of religion.

If you think about it, belief in God and belief in religion are essentially opposites of each other.

Re:its things like these... (1)

esecasco (1160055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275734)

sadly, much how finding out that the world was round lead to the near-genocide of an entire people, I fear that getting rid of religion will lead to the near destruction of all peoples... Not that it isn't the right thing to do, but because as a whole, we tend to give power to those who are more popular, instead of those who are more intelligent (and would wield it righteously). The fact that there has ever been a debate among "scientists" over intelligent design, and that the people given the burden of decision (school boards) even had to deliberate over it, is a sure sign of this fundamental flaw.

Re:its things like these... (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275978)

finding out that the world was round lead to the near-genocide of an entire people

This a a new theory to me. How did the discovery the world was round lead to any attempted genocides? And how does it relate to genocides that took place in the Old Testament e.g. the Amalekites, and take into account the rough calculation of the Earth's circumference by Eratosthenes, well before Christ?

Genocide and massacre in general is an unfortunate reflection on human nature, and it requires neither a round earth nor religion to make it happen. Nor a lack of intelligence; what evidence do you have that the greater intelligence, the more likely power will be wielded "righteously"?

Re:its things like these... (1)

esecasco (1160055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276130)

Evidence? none. Desire to write a paper with bibliography on the matter? none. Desire to get into a long drawn out discussion on the matter? none. Feeling that you basically restated my general feeling by stating, "Genocide and massacre in general is an unfortunate reflection on human nature, and it requires neither a round earth nor religion to make it happen."? good. Evidence for greater intelligence as a better wielder of power? none, oh and no desire to write a report on that either.

Re:its things like these... (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276118)

More and more it becomes evident that religious teachings are being used to push racism, censorship, other forms of hatred and oppressing those who have beliefs against societal norms.

This has always been evident. What's new is this (probably short-lived) idea that these are bad things to want. People think anything is OK if it's part of God's plan. [salon.com]

Ticket to freedom (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275698)

At least the publicity will give this guy has a shot at benefiting from outside pressure like the guy who was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

Democracy is Evil (1)

abfan1127 (784663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275704)

This is exactly why democracy is evil and why we need to realize we have a constitutional republic, and that is what we need to spread.
Additionally, we (United States citizens) have a fantastic country where we can criticize our leaders, and vote new ones in as replacements. Its this type of story that I thank god (and I'm an atheist) that I live in the United States!

Re:Democracy is Evil (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275984)

We have a fantastic country where we can criticize our leaders, and vote new ones in as replacements.
And yet we rarely [opensecrets.org] do.

*sigh*

Re:Democracy is Evil (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276036)

This is exactly why democracy is evil and why we need to realize we have a constitutional republic, and that is what we need to spread.

... except that Afghanistan is not a pure democracy either; it is a constitutional republic with elected representatives just like the USA. So what's your point?

You suck (virtually) (0, Flamebait)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275706)

Didn't you people "liberate" that country a few years ago?

Re:You suck (virtually) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22276000)

Yes, along with Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, etc. With NATO in there, it's kind of a world wide effort.

People blaming the USA for this have there HEADS up their f'n asses. People were killed by the scores by the BEARD PATROL in Afghanistan pre 9/11.

Oh.. but but but Christianity.. et al.

Look at the world today. All the hotspots tend to have one AGITATOR in common. It isn't the mean old USA (which has the right to protect itself and prevent attacks to itself and interests BTW). Nope, nearly all the hotspots on the globe today involve some element of ISLAM.

1.2 billion people adhere to this "religion" which is also a code of laws and makes evangelical christians look mighty damn progressive in comparison.

Until we address the faults that are in Islam, these people will be locked in a 7th century mentality for far too long.

This is OUR fault. WE did this. (2, Interesting)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275776)

In case you've forgotten, we invaded this country first, because they were supposedly harboring Osama bin Laden. Remember him? He had something to do with 9/11, if my memory serves me. He was the guy who HATED Saddam Hussein and actually OFFERED HIS SOLDIERS TO HELP SAUDI ARABIA FIGHT IRAQ. The royal family of Saudi Arabia laughed at him, preferring instead to rely on American troops. He got pissed, and has been an anti-American nutjob ever since.

Oh, but I'm sorry... I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new. After all, everyone in America knows that Osama hated Saddam and that the latter had nothing to do with 9/11! Everyone knows that al-Qaeda was originally led by Osama to be an anti-Iraq and anti-Saddam milita!

...sorry, but I don't think I can keep up the Colbert-esque routine any longer:

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=544 [harrisinteractive.com] quote: [in 2005] 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (up slightly from 62% in November).

How is it FUCKING possible that this has happened? Osama is the one responsible for 9/11, and yet trillions spent on Iraq, a country that Osama was actively trying to fight. But, you know, despite the fact that Iraq has been an unending clusterfuck, I at least assumed that things in Afghanistan--the only that actually openly supported Osama--were going semi-decently. Ok yeah, so opium production has been on the rise since we invaded--shit happens, shit happens, plus I'm not exactly a huge fan of the war on drugs anyway so it's no biggie.

But this... What the FUCK. We destroy the Taliban, and then install THIS sharia-based bullshit? Or, at the very least, we allowed this government to take power after the Taliban fell? We're busy JAMMING democracy and freedom down the throat of Iraq, but we're allowing Afghanistan to descend into the dark ages again? We're allowing them to become a breeding ground for the successor to Osama bin Laden?

I don't know what to say. Sounds like the beginning of a Lewis Black routine, but for the life of me I think of a punch line.

I don't understand. Being mindlessly pro-war is one thing. Being mindlessly pro-war vs. a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, while allowing the country that harbored and nurtured the mastermind behind 9/11 to DESCEND INTO A FUCKING TOTALITARIANISM AGAIN is just... just...

What is WRONG with you people--you jingoists, you untiring flag-wavers, you twin-tower-tattooing rednecks, you support-the-war-or-you-aren't-a-patriot fucks? Why aren't you screaming at our president for allowing Osama to get away with it? Why aren't you screaming at him to bring 'freedom' to Afghanistan, a country we originally invaded six and a half years ago, a country that was and apparently still is much more oppressive and totalitarian than Iraq ever was?

I don't understand.

Re:This is OUR fault. WE did this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275860)

The solution is... the elimination of Islam as the paramount force in these peoples lives.

Unfortunately these adherents of Islam are practicing pure Islam. It's high time Islam had a reformation. Muslims living in the west really should be leading the charge... but they are inconspicuously QUIET.

I saw a magazine cover, The World Without Islam, and I thought... about damn freaking time. Then reading hte aritcles it was a bunch of apologist crap for the Religion of Pieces.

Re:This is OUR fault. WE did this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275882)

"How is it FUCKING possible that this has happened?"

The CIA and the Total Information Awareness agency.

Re:This is OUR fault. WE did this. (1)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22275966)

And the response? An 'offtopic' mod, natch. Because it's completely offtopic to talk about the fact that we installed this government (and/or allowed it to seize power) and our reasons for doing so.

Re:This is OUR fault. WE did this. (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276122)

No it was probably modded offtopic because, among many other reasons, this probably would have happened regardless of whether or not we invaded Afghanistan or Iraq.

If anything, the increased media presence in Afghanistan brought about by our invasion is probably the only reason we even know about this case.

Seriously, wtf? More "offtopic"? (1)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276142)

Someone just modded offtopic again. Seriously, are things so fucking bad that people cannot remember:

1. That we invaded Afghanistan back in '01

and

2. Our reasons for invading Afghanistan

?

Mentioning Iraq is also on-topic, because we have been using resources on Iraq that could have instead been used on Afghanistan to prevent another fucking totalitarian theocracy from coming to power.

Re:This is OUR fault. WE did this. (2, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276046)

in 2005] 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda
How is it FUCKING possible that this has happened?
Simple - because that's what the US Government [washingtonpost.com] wants them to believe.

Sure have come a long way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275844)

Wow, it's sure nice to see how far they've come since the days of the Taliban. I guess all those people have not died in vain.

Lifeline for Pervez: Afghan Senate withdraws deman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275892)

From the next acticle:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/lifeline-for-pervez-afghan-senate-withdraws-demand-for-death-sentence-777188.html [independent.co.uk]

Lifeline for Pervez: Afghan Senate withdraws demand for death sentence

By Kim Sengupta, Jerome Starkey in Kabul and Nigel Morris
Saturday, 2 February 2008

The move follows widespread international protests and appeals to the President, Hamid Karzai, after the case was highlighted by The Independent and more than 38,000 readers signed our petition to secure justice for Mr Kambaksh. In Britain, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, backed the campaign, and there have been demonstrations in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The first ruling by the Senate supporting the death sentence on Mr Kambaksh by a religious court in Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country, was proposed by Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, a key ally of President Karzai, and was seen as a severe blow to the 23-year-old journalism student's chances of avoiding execution. The new stance, in which the Senate calls its previous decision "a technical mistake", significantly raises hopes that he will eventually be freed.

Mr Kambaksh's family and friends had complained that he was not allowed legal representation at his trial, which was held in secret. Fundamentalist Muslim clerics say he should not have access to the normal right of appeal under the state because he was convicted of the religious crime of blasphemy. The Senate statement yesterday explicitly recognised that the student should have the right to a defence lawyer as well as the right to appeal.

The Senate statement, read out by Aminuddin Muzafari, secretary to the upper house, said: "The position of the upper house regarding distributing anti-Islamic articles, via an Iranian website, was that the upper house approved of the prosecution of such acts by the judiciary. The nature of the sentence, considering the judiciary's independence, would be up to the court itself.

"The upper house respects the rights of the accused, such as the right to have a defence lawyer, the right of appeal and other legal rights. But approval of the death sentence, in the statement published recently from the address of the upper house, was a technical mistake."

Mr Mojaddedi, who has been heavily criticised for proposing the ruling backing the execution, said: "I accept that justice is independent and only the courts are competent to issue such a ruling."

Mr Kambaksh can now petition the court of appeal against both his conviction and sentence, and, afterwards, the supreme court. If he fails there, he can appeal directly to Mr Karzai who has been inundated with emails about the case for a pardon. Mr Kambaksh's brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, welcomed the new position adopted by the Senate. He added, however, that he might have difficulties finding lawyers to present the case at the appeal court after warnings from fundamentalist groups against people "allying themselves with the apostate". He said the only realistic chance of his brother being freed might be the personal intervention of Mr Karzai.

Ershad Ahmadi, a senior aide to Mr Karzai, said the President was "keeping a close eye on the case". But he stressed it was a "long, difficult and complicated legal process".

Mr Ahmadi added: "The decision by the initial court will be reviewed by a higher court and that decision will then be scrutinised by the supreme court. If they uphold the death sentence, the President can send the verdict back to the supreme court for them to reconsider. But if they stand by their decision the President still has the authority to pardon him."

Selim Mohammed Nasruddin, an analyst of the Afghan legal system, said the upper house had "taken a really dangerous step in saying this journalist should be killed it put tremendous pressure on the appeal courts. What they have done now makes it easier for the judges to commute the death sentence.

"It also makes it politically easier for Mr Karzai to free this man if he wants to. Those who are progressive in this country are glad this has happened. What is very worrying is that it took pressure from outside the country for the upper house to rectify this error."

The media campaign group, Reporters Without Borders, which has campaigned on behalf of Mr Kambaksh, said the Senate's statement was a step in the right direction. "We have seen that there is support for the young journalist," a spokesman added. "The authorities must now take the necessary measures, which include transferring the case to Kabul so that it can be dealt with in normal conditions.

"The safety of Kambaksh and his family must also be ensured, as the death threats against them have been increasing. And we urge foreign governments to rally to his defence." A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are keenly watching all developments. The Foreign Secretary had made it very clear that we are firm in our belief that freedom of expression is fundamental to a democratic society."

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "This is hugely welcome and I hope it will not be long before this appalling judgment is reversed. The international community must continue to make it clear that Afghanistan cannot cast aside basic principles of justice and human rights."

-------------------
by accident the capcha has been "crying". Overwhelming isn't it.

GTFO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22275912)

p0st t1t5 or gtf0

Sharia == Smokescreen (5, Informative)

Ricin (236107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276032)

From what I read here and there (google) this is really about this guy's older brother who's also a journalist and who has written about one or more of the tribal chiefs aka warlords (and since they're our "friends" now they have moved up into all sorts of higher positions). One thing that stung was apparently his reporting how this tribal chief and others (apparently it's an old custom) enjoy capturing and abusing teenage boys. Maybe before being sold and shipped to Guantanamo, who knows.

I think, but am not sure that's in the Uruzgan province where our dear Dutch soldiers are protecting such scumbags while spreading freedom and democracy.

And there are persistent rumors that Karzai (mayor of Kabul)'s brother is opium chief number one in that lovely place. Well I reckon something has to pay for weaponry and the squanders of war and newfound power. And they can cheerfully dump the heroin into countries such as Iran. You know, to stop the terrorists there.

BTW, in Iraq they now HAVE sharia law. Officially. It's only a few pages away from the oil privatizing clauses in their new and illegal constitution brought to them by the benevolent US of A. Gays are killed. Single women (and there are MANY widows there) are targeted. The whole shebang. So they get death from above, death from starvation, death from disease, and death from their own governments militia (and the madhi). Almost makes death by M16 a mercy killing, doesn't it.

Age of Endarkenment (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276100)

Sounds like a political move by a bunch of embittered loser Taliban cleric types.

I hope for the young man's sake the glowering zealots get overruled.
It's kind of incumbent on the US gov. to get their puppet to overrule these
desperate, medieval, mysogynistic bearded dudes (I say that as a bearded dude myself.)

Organized religion served its purpose:

- It corrected peoples' wilder selfish or atavistic impulses, and aligned aspirations,
  to promote efficient co-operation in groups.
-This enforced internal alignment and co-operation led to great power and persistence
for the organized religion memes. Still going strong on internal momentum.

- But now we have more subtle and less restrictive ways of enforcing necessary
amounts of co-operation with society, through the rule of civil law and
democratic (or partly democratic) governance.

The sooner that organized religion can be seen by all, worldwide, for what it is:
- an outmoded, often unjust, and certainly undemocratic form of groupiness -
the better off we'll be.
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