The U.S. President George W. Bush has been stepping up the pressure on the puppet Afghan government led by Hamid Karzai to spare Abdul Rahman, who faces execution for converting from Islam to Christianity.Reply
And this pressure seems to have achieved its intended goals. Officials at Karzai’s government suggested they might cite the conversion of Abdul Rahman as proof of insanity so as to cut short a trial under Islamic law, avoiding angering the United States and NATO allies.
"We have got influence in Afghanistan and we are going to use it to remind them that there are universal values," Bush said.
Also NATO's top diplomat, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has been quoted as saying he would demand Karzai to insist the case be dropped.
Some analysts, explaining the political implications of bringing up the issue of Abdul Rahman at this time, although he converted to Christianity more than 16 years ago as said in circulating media reports, they attributed that to Mr. Bush’s need to show the world that his mission, to spread “democracy”, now failing in Iraq, has actually succeeded in Afghanistan, once ruled by conservative Taliban regime.
"It is deeply troubling that a country we helped liberate would hold a person to account because they chose a particular religion over another," Bush said.
Also with the American President’s approval rating at an all-time low of between 35 and 37, Bush needs to secure the support of the mostly Christian American public, and that by coming up with an issue like defending a man who is facing trial and possible execution for abandoning Islam and embracing Christianity.
Also with the continuous failure of the U.S in Iraq, now on the verge of a civil war, the Bush administration needed to shift the world and media attention away from the crimes U.S. occupiers commit daily in Iraq, most recently the scandal of Haditha and Abu Sifa massacres, where scores of Iraqi civilians, including women and children were killed in the most horrific crimes Iraq witnessed since the war began in March 20 2003.
At one of Bush's fake "town hall meetings" recently, an Army wife asked the U.S. President why the mainstream media only focuses on "the bad news" from Iraq and never reports "the good news."
It seems that the woman’s question inspired Bush, who nodded in agreement, to launch a Vietnam-era-style "blame the media" campaign to explain declining public support for both the war and the President.
The woman’s question gave Bush, who sympathized with her distress, an opportunity for another anti-media riff on that issue.
But what would also help Bush is to get the media busy with another topic. Now most of the headlines on the world’s media outlets are booked for the trial of Abdul Rahman.
The Afghan government has indeed submitted to the pressure exerted by the Bush administration.
The judge handling the trial of Abdul Rahman, now undergoing mental tests that could spare him from execution, dropped the case, citing lack of evidence and he will be released soon.
Prosecutors say the apostasy case against 41-year-old Christian convert depends on what doctors would say about his mental condition.
Debate and protests continue in and outside Afghanistan about the controversial case, and that’s exactly what Washington needs at the moment with irrepressible scandals, concerning treatment of detainees in Iraq, Guantanamo and elsewhere, and killing of civilians in Iraq, keep unfolding one after another.
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