In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2005 / 8 Kislev, 5766

Censorship in the name of religion

By Diana West

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Now they want to put him to death — Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, the Afghan editor already sentenced to two years hard labor for "blasphemy" against Islam. Now, Afghan prosecutors want to put him to death.

Why? The Muslim editor of "Women's Rights" magazine published articles in post-Taliban Afghanistan that criticized aspects of Islamic law, including the penalties of stoning for adultery, amputation for theft and death for leaving Islam.

"Sometimes the whole religion and the rules of the religion were attacked," explained Muhammad Aref Rahmani, who sits on Afghanistan's council of Islamic scholars.

Attacked? "For instance," Mr. Rahmani told the Chicago Tribune, "he says one woman should be equal to one man, as a witness in a case, which is completely against our religion."

Yes, those seismic vibrations rolling across your eardrums are the sound of culture clash. Under Islamic law, a woman's court testimony is worth half as much as a man's — another rank inequality Mr. Nasab's magazine opposed — so I guess you could say Mr. Rahmani has an Islamic point. Of course, such Islamic "crimes" equal Western virtues. This, it seems, leaves Afghan officials unimpressed.

"The decision made by the lower court on Mohaqeq Nasab will in no way satisfy the public prosecutor's office," Zmarai Amiri told the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Mr. Amiri ought to know: He's Kabul's chief prosecutor. "Nasab must be punished more severely, up to and including execution." There are sure to be more arrests, Mr. Amiri continued rather Stalinistically, if anyone, including government officials, comes to Mr. Nasab's defense.

So much for post-Taliban — and, come to think of it, post-Operation-Enduring-Freedom — life in Afghanistan. Maybe the more useful exercise here is not to wonder how we became midwife to a theocratic police state, but to see what we can learn from it. One thing is clear: where Islam is protected from so-called blasphemy, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech — let alone women's rights — are not.

This same notion of Islam's "protection" came up when Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced Salman Rushdie to death in 1989 for his "blasphemous" novel, "The Satanic Verses," pitching the Western world into craven fits of appeasement. As JWR contributor Daniel Pipes has written, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) not only endorsed Iran's charges of "blasphemy" and Mr. Rushdie's "heresy," it also called for "necessary legislation to insure the protection of the religious beliefs of others." Saliently, the OIC declared that "blasphemy cannot be justified on the basis of freedom of expression and opinion."

Some things never change. As we see in Afghanistan — and, increasingly, elsewhere — this fundamental tenet of Islamic society is one of them. And it is on this point that the West and Islam are struggling to come to terms.

For example, the Islamic furor over a dozen Muhammad cartoons published in a Danish newspaper —and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's refusal to meddle with his country's freedom of speech — continues to rise up the food chain, from death threats and street riots, to ambassadorial protests, to heads-of-state deliberations at the December OIC meeting in Mecca.

Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan's reaction not only sums up the official Islamic response, but is also highly significant given Turkey's bid to become the European Union bridge between the West and Islam. On a recent trip to Denmark, as recounted in the Internet edition of the Turkish newspaper "Zaman," Mr. Erdogan addressed the Muhammad-cartoon issue, saying, "Freedoms have limits, what is sacred should be respected." As columnist Mustafa Unal put it, Mr. Erdogan "indicated that respect toward what is considered sacred is more important than the freedom of expression."

This is a major point of culture clash — or would be, if the West cared to defend its freedoms. Which is a big "if." Meanwhile, Denmark's "Berlingske Tidende," via the blogger Fjordman (fjordman.blogspot.com), reports that the 56 countries of the OIC have now written the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to "help contain this encroachment on Islam, so the situation won't get out of control."

Let's translate. "Encroachment on Islam" equals criticism of Islam — aka "blasphemy" in Islamic quarters. "The situation" equals freedom of speech. "Out of control" equals criticism of Islam as an exercise of freedom of speech. In response, the U.N. human rights commissioner, Louise Arbour, emphasized her "regret" over "any statement or act that could express a lack of respect for the religion of others." Which sounds like the Danes are in U.N.-trouble. But what about the statements or acts — from censorship to death sentences — of the religion that encroach on the rights of others? That's a question no one dares to ask.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Diana West Archives

© 2005, Diana West