Everybody in Afghanistan says Abdul Rahman must be insane for switching from Islam to Christianity. While an Afghan court has dropped charges against him -- yes, it violates the law to switch religions in Afghanistan and the penalty is death -- that's not the worst of it: Radical Muslim clerics have simply declared poor Abdul must be torn limb from limb for the intolerable profanity of abandoning Islam. This comes very close on the heels of the insane religious murders purportedly inspired by a ridiculous newspaper cartoon.
The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent piece today about the throny issues involved when a Muslim would rather switch than fight.
OK, we have our own radical Christian freaks here, and they occasionally suggest that somebody should die (Pat Robertson) or that their choices in life ensure a grotesque death and afterlife (Rev. Fred Phelps) or even become politico-religious terrorists (Tim McVeigh.) So the West is certainly not without examples of its own bloodthirsty forms of ecclesiastic intolerance, although the rest of our culture actively keeps those freak shows in control ... we execute our terrorists, we don't exalt them.
But, man, Islam's preeminent radical bloc makes it exceedingly difficult for the rest of the world to care about Muslim issues, much less to embrace or support them. To draw and quarter a person for changing his faith, to behead innocents because they were snatchable, to crash planes into buildings because Muslims can't live with infidels, to assault embassies because of a newspaper cartoon ... it seems too much to expect tolerance from Islam. And part of me is eager to allow them to live their lives within their own codes ... but doggone it, they don't seem satisfied to let diverse faiths exist, and they keep killing people to prove it.
(And I wonder what radical Muslims think of the thousands of Americans who become Muslims, such as Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Louis Farrakhan? Somehow I suspect they wouldn't get much sympathy in the next fatwah. )