This man’s name is Sayed Pervez Kambaksh. He’s a 23-year-old journalism student from Afghanistan. He is scheduled to be executed in the very near future.
In an effort to encourage debate about women’s rights in Afghanistan he downloaded and distributed a report which stated that “Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.”
That got him arrested and tried by religious judges (ie, not the government and without representation) who ruled that he should be put to death for blasphemy. Numerous human rights groups, journalist organizations, Western diplomats, and even the United Nations have appealed to President Hamid Karzai (Hey, that’s him on the right!) to intervene.
But you see, there’s a problem. Come to find out it was Karzai’s good buddy Sibghatullah Mojaddedi who proposed a motion to the Afghan Senate (ie, the government) to uphold the death sentence. They passed it, scolded the international community for trying to intervene and urged Karzai “not to be influenced by outside un-Islamic views.”
(Remember how we supposedly got rid of those evil Islamic fundamentalist Taliban rulers – with all their human rights atrocities and all? Well, this is what we helped put in their place. Awesome right?)
So what can we do?
Well, for one we can pray like the dickens that Kambaksh’s life might be sparred. And while we’re at it we also can pray that the people of Afghanistan might come to know Peace, and that the Kingdom of Peace would spread throughout their land. That would be an excellent place to start.
But secondly, we can help apply more pressure on Karzai and the Afghan government to step in. We know that even the most radical of Islamic fundamentalists will buckle under enough political pressure – just ask Gillian Gibbons. And you can help apply pressure by signing this petition put forth by the U.K. based newspaper The Independent.
Or you can play Scrabulous. It’s your online time.