From The Gathering Storm Blog

It sickens me every time I think of how the Bush administration was either stupid or sold their democratic principles down the river. Bush and the neocons have beaten the drum to death that the only way to stop terrorism is to democratize Islamic countries. But what they have done is only appease the Islamists and squandered the victory we had.

As many have pointed out, we have already lost the war goals of Iraq and Afghanistan when both voted into their constitution that these countries would be an Islamic state and be ruled by Islamic law. Now that decision is showing its ugly head.

A Muslim in Afghanistan who stood up for women’s rights not only was arrested but faces the death penalty.

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has been sentenced by a religious court to death for downloading and circulating a tract that criticised interpreting that the Koran supported the suppression of women. He did this at his university where he is studying journalism. Despite the widespread international condemnation the Afghan Senate has rejected non Islamic views on the matter – and expressed that the secular supreme court should not intervene in the matter though constitutionally he has the right of appeal.

And the grounds for this? What say you President Bush?

Aminuddin Muzafari, the first secretary of the houses of parliament, said: “People should realise that as we are representatives of an Islamic country therefore we can never tolerate insults to reverences of Islamic religion.”

So much for western democracy in Afghanistan.

Now after six years my concern is that we have not far advanced the rule of law that protects the liberty of people from their governments. Of course the Afghan people have a right to their own constitution and the law that they wish to be governed by.

But they do not have the right to expect our troops to die to defend such a constitution, or protect such a government that would allow this punishment on it’s citizens for blasphemy. Either we help build a democratic regime through investment and the blood of our fellow citizens – if that help is not appreciated or the ruling government that holds sway does not appreciate these values we hold dear, then we have no moral obligation towards them.

They have become the enemies of reason, showing an intolerance that Al Qaeda wrought on an international stage. May the international community send a clear signal that in this case human rights matter – and the Afghan government can expect no favours should it allow this student’s execution.

If you want to show support for Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, add your weight to the campaign by urging President Karzai’s government to demand that his life be spared. Sign the e-petition at www.independent.co.uk/petition.

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