No clues in this story why he was released. International pressure? My favorite quote from a nice, moderate Muslim: “‘Abdul Rahman must be killed. Islam demands it,’ said senior Cleric Faiez Mohammed, from the nearby northern city of Kunduz. ‘The Christian foreigners occupying Afghanistan are attacking our religion.'”
Something ironic–can’t quite put my finger on it–about this cleric saying that “the Christian foreigners” are attacking his religion. See, because I was under the impression that a Christian was being attacked for his religion. As far as Christian foreigners go…I understand the whole strange connection that Muslims make between the U.S. and Christianity (couldn’t have been helped along by Fundamentalists, could it?), but in the context of this case, it’s weird to speak of others attacking Islam. Oh yeah, especially since the U.S. specifically called for relgious freedom in Afghanistan. As your dad used to say, you want something [attacks] to cry about? I’ll give you something [Holy War] to cry about. (That was me channeling Kevin Nealan…)
This does bring up an interesting topic, however. (I think Captain Catechism might have mentioned it here a while ago.) What is better for Christians? A state hostile to them, a state indifferent to them, or a state friendly with them? (I posted briefly about it here.)
I don’t think we should consciously invite persecution upon ourselves, nor do I think we should seek martyrdom. God has His own ways and His own times, if it is His will that we suffer for the Faith. On the other hand, the Church has historically thrived in areas where she was under fire. The blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the Church.
I’m also pretty sure things go badly when the state is particularly friendly to the Church. Theocracies are generally more trouble than they’re worth. At the same time, a public square denuded of all traces of moral discourse (usually called “religion”) is not good for the people who have to live there, whether they know it or not.
It is the duty of Christians neither to abandon the public square nor to endorse everything that goes on there. Such a stance has no particular position on any debateable issue (sorry, homosexual “marriage” and abortion do not fall in the debateable category), but it requires careful thinking in order to make the best decision possible. That’s responsible engagement with the wider culture.
Who knows what that has to do with Rahman, but I hope his life and witness can be a testimony to some of those who desire to take that life from him.