I do not read the Afghan Express newspaper regularly but I have read the article that caused a holdup for the newspaper and detention for 15 of its reporters.
In that short article, the writer criticizes the ISIS and the Taliban and their behaviors. He then discusses the issues of adultery and apostasy. It appears that the writers simply takes his complains directly to his creator and talks with God about his abilities and disabilities in a world that is full of villainy: I now want to talk to you, God. Tell me, what kind of a God are you? Have you gone mad? Will you truly be satisfied if they kill someone just because he no longer wanted to be a Muslim? If so, I have nothing to do with you anymore and will leave you at once. “Perhaps we can conclude that you were never kind to mankind. That you killed the sodomites simply because there homosexuals”.
Based on the hostility related verses of the Quran, the writer shows how rebels like ISIS and the Taliban justifies the killings of the innocent Shiites and Christians, raping and slaving of the women, and many other crimes in Iraq and other countries. The writer then asks God why rebels like the Taliban and ISIS will have to guard “values” when Quran says that God is the greatest.
There are several points in that article.
1- Complains and criticism about the way Muslims treat apostasy.
2- Condemning the brutal killing of the innocents by terroristic groups such as the Taliban and the ISIS.
3- Many questions about injustice and oppression that he, the writer, directly asks God.
This was the sum of what had been written on Afghan Express.
The president of Afghanistan has given direct orders to the ministry of Information and Culture to check this newspaper’s case in a dedicated manner. The council of Ministers too have shown reaction to the subject; Rasool Sayaf, one of the most ruthless warlord of his time, who is also accused by the human right activists of violating many human right laws, has named the reporters of this newspaper as infidels and pagans and called for severe punishments against them. Qutbudin Helal, one of the allies of Gulbudin Hekmatyar and a member of Hezb-e-Islami, the party responsible for destroying Kabul and killing thousands of people, has declared Jihad against these news reporters.
Instead of protecting these reporters, the news writer protection agencies in Afghanistan have stated that publishing such articles which stirs controversy and threatens unity by standing against religious values, is condemned by law.
In an interview with Radio Azadi, one of the high ranked members of the Taliban named Abdul Rahman Hotak, who is also accused of violation of the human rights rules, and yet currently works as a commissioner in the Afghanistan human rights committee, has also demanded that this news firm in particular the accused writer should be taken to the court. The commissioner went on to say that a simple apology is not enough for certain heinous crimes. He asks the Afghan Express members whether killing and rubbery could be forgiven simply by offering an apology? He also added that in Afghanistan the freedom of religion is one thing but an insult to our religion is a handful matter of its own and will not be taken lightly.
We should also mention here that when Abdul Rahman Hotak was appointed by Karzai as the commissioner of the Human Rights Committee, Brad Adams, the man in charge of watching over the Human Rights Committees in Asia, voiced his opinion and said that Karzai had hired a fox to guard the birds; it is only sensible that Karzai appoint someone qualified for the job, someone with a clear record.
Facebook users have also expressed their reactions to that article. Very few have defended the rights of the reporter to the freedom of speech. But many have condemned Mohammad Jawid Ahoor, the writer of this article instead of defending him and his rights. These people including a few of my own friends who themselves have been the victims of censorship in Afghanistan and had to face a court or even jail time. When almost everyone in Afghanistan has a basic knowledge of their religion, they argue that discussing religion should be left only to expert intellectuals in the matter. This is when we hardly ever have any of the latter.
The brawl over this article also has a few interesting marginal points too. Knowing that the writer of this article was a Hazara man from the province of Ghazni, the most discriminated minority in Afghanistan, the Perelman members have ill-treated the Ghazni leaders with metonymy and unkindness and the Taliban harassed four Hazara students en route to Ghazni. These four young men had nothing to do whatsoever with this article.
What are holy beliefs? What is an insult to holy beliefs?
Sanctities and things that are considered disrespectful to sanctities are different amongst different people and cultures. In every culture, there are holy matters and what is considered an insult to those matters. In religious issues however the line between a holy mater and criticism to that matter is very thin to the point where one Muslim man can fairly easily excommunicate another Muslim man or one Christian can do the same to another Christian.
A monkey, for example, is just an animal to the people of Afghanistan but the same animal is perceived as a God in India. Or a cow that evokes the appetite for a hamburger in our minds, is given the respect and authority of a God in India.
Mince and bats are usually considered gross in Afghanistan and people try to avoid contact with them but not so in some other parts of the world. In Thailand, Burma, and parts of India, these two creatures are sacred and must be approached with respect.
In Islam, the domain of beliefs is so widespread that it covers everything from God and the prophet to Ali Khamenei prostate and Mullah Omar’s blind eye. It goes without saying that under such circumstances, simple matters like making a movie, drawing a cartoon, taking a picture, listening to music and many otherwise normal acts are now considered an insult to religion. It shouldn’t be like that.
And it is therefore that a simple article on Afghan Express is merely labeled as an insult to Allah. Whether it is demanding equal rights for women by a Sheikh Muheq Nasab, or copying a few articles from the web by Kambakhsh, or naming a Jihadi militia working for Karzai a criminal, all and any of these could be easily called an insult to the sanctities in Afghanistan. This is precisely why a womanizing leader like Mohsinee or a war criminal like Sayaf argue their way out of the heat by labeling just about any kind of criticism of their characters as attack on Islamic values.
In this article on Afghan Express, I find nothing that can be considered an insult to sanctities of Islam. The crimes committed by the Taliban an ISIS is not justifiable just because they are done in the name of Islam and Allah and should not be defended for any sensible reason. And the fact that the writer chose to talk directly to God in a critical tone is merely his choice and no one else’s business. The manner in which Sayaf, certain Islamic students and other illiterate Mullahs defend God and Islam is quite unsuitable. It reminds one of the story of Ibrahim. Ibrahim broke all sacred statues and argued that these statues could not even defend themselves so how can they be your Gods. The same is true when it comes to Mullahs in Afghanistan. On one hand, they consider Allah to be the greatest and the most powerful. On the other hand, they know that Allah cannot defend himself so it is for them to stand against any criticism of Allah, big or small, and deprive others of their freedom of opinion and speech and even kill them if not subdued. This is quite interesting. It is as if they have been hired by Allah himself to harass others in his name and this this is why no one can dare to defend the news writers and reporters.
Please consider the following: donkey, barbaric, bastard, ignorant, deaf-blind-mute, lecher, idiot, dumb, good for killing, four legged animal. These are the words used in Quran to describe certain non-Muslims but no one can consider these an insult to others. And yet if you use these same words to criticize Muslims then a serious act of insult has taken place. So would you argues that non-Muslims deserve such labels and name callings but Muslims don’t?
1- Verse 5 of All-Jummah (62:5)
Those people that Torah has been forced upon them and who don’t act by it, are like donkeys carrying a load. They are a bad story that rejected the verses of Quran and Allah will not guide oppressors.
2- Verse 28 of All-Tubah (9:28)
Hey you who believe in Allah, starting next year do not allow infidels near the mosque as they are unclean. And if you fear impoverishment, know that if Allah wants he will rid you of any need as he is wise and sage.
3- Verse 55 of All-Inqal (8:55)
The worst amongst you are those who do not believe in Allah and are infidels.
4- Verse 30 of All-Tuba
The Jews said Uzair is the son of God, the Christians said that Jesus is the son of God and these are the words and beliefs of those who do not have faith in Allah. Where will they go once Allah takes their lives?
5- Verse 161 of All-Baqara (2:161)
Allah, Angels and people all curse those who were nonbelievers and died as nonbelievers.
6- Verse 171 of All-Baqara (2:171)
The infidels are like Animals that you read something in their ears but they make no sense out of it; they are deaf, blind and mute.
7- Verse 22 of All-Inqal (8:22)
In the eyes of Allah the worst animals are those deaf and mute people who do not respond to the words of Allah.
8- Verse 59 of All-Maaeda (5:59)
Say: Those who believe in the book, do you chide us? Isn’t it true that we believe in Allah and what he has sent to us, now and before, and that you are disobedient?
9- Verse 12 of Muhammad (47:12)
Those of you that are believers and act suitably will be bestowed by Allah in the heaven with streams flowing. Infidels may enjoy on Earth now but they will see no heaven and will burn in the fires of hill.
10- Verse 50 of All-Mudater (74:50) (Also check out verses 48 and 49 in this chapter)
They are wild like donkeys.
11- Verse 13 of All-Qalam (68:13)
Those who are arrogant and rebellious and owe their identity to things other than Allah are bastards.
12- Verse 67 of All_Anbya (21:67)
Cuss you and who you worship! Were you not thinking?
13- Verse 10 of All-Baqara (2:10)
They are sick at heart and Allah has added to their sickness and as penalty to their lies, this in itself is a severe punishment for them.
14- Verse 13 0f All-Baqara (2:13)
And when they are asked to turn to Allah like other people, they will say they are not stupid like other people. Be aware that it is them who are stupid and unaware and they don’t know any better.
16- Verse 110 of All-Umran (3:110)
Those of you that obey the promotion of virtue and prevention of evil are the best of people to Allah. You are the believers. It would be best for others to turn to Allah and become believers. Some of them will be considered faithful but most of them are wicked.
P.S- Since most readers don’t appreciate very long articles, I truncated the article to the above section