Yes—between the devil and the deep see is where the Afghan government has found itself in the pretext of the Afghan Christian convert case. On one side, there are the democratic values and ideals of personal freedom while on the other side there are a bunch of “cynic fundamentalists” and more dangerously, Islam. The charactarification is yours. Go ahead, tell me, who is the devil and who is the deep sea?
As it is echoed throughout the realm of the Media Men, Karzai is in a “tough” position trying to balance the act between pleasing his patrons in Washington and coming clean of all—well, almost all—allegations of heathenism in his own country. While I admit it is hard times for him, but I also have to admit that it is not as difficult as portrayed. Apart from the choices he has, some of which have been discussed by my friend in his weblog, I believe Karzai has another choice, which he is very likely to choose: The choice of using his own gang of mullahs for his rescue.
Like the European rulers in the middle ages, the Muslim rulers have also reaped full benefits of the “union of the Church and State” phenomenon. They have, whenever confronted with a similar “moral” or “religious” dilemma, boldly used the “fatwa” or religious edict from their private gang of mullahs to solve everything in—indeed—a very moral and religious way.
Countless instances of these initiatives exist in the old as well as contemporary Muslim History. From the Saudi kings to the Persian Ayatollahs and to the Pakistani dictators, all have taken full mileage of this golden principle. All of them have been and are using the same old tactic of paganizing their adversaries through their state-sponsored mullahs to oust them from the political scene.
Luckily, for Karzai, Afghanistan abounds with mullahs who were Taliban sympathizers until the end of 2001, but who changed paradigms to sympathize with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as soon as the Taliban were ousted. And yet again, it is very likely that they will sympathize with Karzai in issuing a religious edict (fatwa) in favor of the Convert, Abdul Rahman. But like all favors, these divinely ordained favors too don’t come for free: Karzai will have to heavily grease their palms.
Very soon, we may witness a turban-headed, meter-bearded, scholarly-looking elderly man appearing on TV to declare the edict on behalf of the “Council of the Ulama* of Afghanistan”. And just to add that final touch of perfection, a man, in white overalls, with a stethoscope hanging down his neck, might announce the “results” of the “medical examinations conducted on the convict” deeming him “unfit” to stand trial.There, you have it…Abdul the Convert freed; the raging temper of the Afghans quelled and Karzai relieved. Yes, there would be small pockets of resistance, but then again, if they aren’t there, who should believe that all this was real and not staged?
Footnotes:*Ulama, plural of the Arabic word, Aalim, meaning learned, wise