Saturday, March 25, 2006

NYT and John Esposito - Two Birds of a Feather

What amazes me about these NYT articles is how John Esposito gives the NYT reporter a bunch of lies and they produce them as FACTS.

In Kabul, a Test for Shariah By ANDREA ELLIOTT, NYT
Published: March 26, 2006
THE news that a man in Afghanistan might face a death sentence for converting to Christianity brought cries of outrage around the world last week.

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Progressive Muslim scholars argue that the meaning of those laws has been lost over time: When the laws were created, they say, apostasy was seen as the equivalent of treason. "To be a Muslim was to live in an Islamic state or empire, so the presumption was you were not only becoming the enemy of God but the enemy of the empire," said John L. Esposito, a professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University [Madrassah and Whorehouse].

Muslim jurists who support the execution of apostates often point to a hadith — a tradition attributed to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century — in which he is recorded as saying that a person who changes religions should be killed.

But while the Koran mentions ridda, it never calls for the execution of apostates. There is no record of the prophet killing an apostate himself. And executions of apostates have been rare in Islamic history.

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Still, only a handful of apostasy executions are known to have occurred in Muslim-majority countries in recent decades. [And why do you think so few apostates have publicly declared their apostasy? Duh.]

IT'S like the issue of slavery," said Bernard Haykel, an Islamic studies professor at New York University. "Slavery exists in Islamic law and most Muslims have decided to ignore it. It's what I call collective amnesia."

Yet apostasy has a deep cultural resonance among Muslims, making a case like Mr. Rahman's an opportunity for religious conservatives with political agendas, Mr. Haykel said.

"Islamists will always use cases like this one to gain political mileage and credibility," he said. "They become the champions of Islamic law, of Islam. They can present themselves as authentic Muslims." [That's because they are and you are either a deceitful Muslim or an ignorant Muslim.]

The case of Mr. Rahman, whose conversion was reported to the authorities by family members after he sought custody of his children from his parents, has been widely characterized as a test for Afghanistan's American-backed government.

Afghanistan's new Constitution, like Iraq's, makes room for both Shariah and secular law, but it is still unclear how successfully they will coexist. The Afghan Constitution states that "no law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam," but it also declares that the state will observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Iraq has more vigorous protections in its Constitution for human rights than Afghanistan, yet still it has a provision that no law should be contrary to Islam," said Tad Stahnke, policy director of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. "It hasn't been tested. But it will."

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