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...Because only a loony would...

So the Afghan government is worried about the mental state of Abdul Rahman, the 41-year old man who faces the death penalty for converting to Christianity? It's nice to know they're concerned about something related to him, since they're trying to kill him and all.

I can picture the psychological profile now..

Subject thinks invisible man who created the universe is watching him.

Subject believes he is in some way invincible, as he claims he will live on in some form after he dies (that is, after we kill him).

Subject believes winged former humans are interfering in human affairs.

Subject believes there is a book that holds all the answers of life, the universe and everything, but claims it was not written by Douglas Adams.

I'm not quite sure what the right answer is here, I'm just somewhat astounded that they seem concerned with his well being, when he's being charged with doing what to him seemed right (which proves he's insane), and would supposedly give him peace of mind. As a result of following his conscience, or whatever thing you follow to make decisions like that, he faces death.

And, lo, somewhere, Jesus saith: "Wow, deja vu."

I am a staunch cultural relativist, that is, I believe that every culture, no matter how much it differs from the Right Is Might Is White ideal, has its own value for its members. I am not trying to judge this using standards that are inappropriate, I am just confused. I am confused at the rationale, or at least the flexible and perhaps inconsistent application of a moral standard that would be a prerequisite in permitting- nay, promoting- the death of someone who has the audacity to cancel his subscription to the Muslim faith and replace it with Christianity, and yet disallowing that death if the subject has a mental illness.

It's news stories like this that promote misunderstanding and unfounded rumour about the Muslim faith. And maybe, buried underneath the 'human interest', that's the real point.

What this whole thing says to me is that the biggest single danger in the world is a theocracy - Muslim, Jewish, Christian, whatever. Give a person the power to make and interpret in the name of his "invisible guy in the sky" not only invites human rights abuses like this; it mandates them.

To me the whole "he must be crazy" defence looks like an attempt by the Afgani gov't. to back out of this as gracefully as they can. Any thoughts?

It certainly gives them an 'out'. I think you're probably right, since (I don't know this for a fact) the insanity defence is likely a western invention, so they are translating their escape into terms we can understand.
Nice call!

It is a possibility, Doug, however more recent reports have it that other Muslim leaders are calling for this guy's head nonetheless.

I read somewhere today one of these guys saying "rejecting Islam is an assault to Allah and therefore a blasphemy."

JesusfuckingMohammedBuddhaShivaChrist.

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