The life of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, a young journalism student in his twenties, is in danger of being extinguished. Why? He is accused of showing disrespect to the words of a dead man, long silenced by the hot winds of Arabia. What did Pervez actually do? Kim Sengupta, writing in the Independent, reports:
... [Pervez] downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.
Mr Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter...
Where? Afghanistan. When Mullah Omar led the Talibans to blast off the heads of women buried up to their necks in a soccer field? No, under the watch of the suave Hamid Karzai, the democratically elected President of
Upon conviction, a Sharia court ordered the execution of Pervez. The Afghan Senate, then, passed a resolution, confirming the sentence.
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."
There, we have it from yet another Islamic State. Not from some crazy, fringe group of fundamentalists, but the State itself. One may not criticize, dispute, or, negate anything that is written in the Koran. It's blasphemy, punishable by death, under the Islamic law.
Imagine, if other major religions had such an iron grip over the people of the nations in which they are predominant. The world would have been bereft of Dan Brown, Richard Dawkins, Jodie Foster, and Martin Scorsese, long time ago. M. Karunanidhi, Deepa Mehta, and Ravi Shastri, would have been beheaded for insulting Rama, Sita, and the cow. It's time for the world, especially the regions where Islam has a significant presence, to wake up and smell the danger to the civilization from this so-called religion of peace.
Under criticism and pressure from the British Government and the international community, the Afghan Senate has withdrawn its resolution confirming Pervez's execution.
More than 38,000 readers of The Independent have now joined the campaign to save Sayed Pervez Kambaksh - and yesterday's breakthrough shows the impact this petition has had. But the student's fate is by no means decided. So add your voice to the campaign by urging the Foreign Office to put all possible pressure on the Afghan government to spare his life. Sign our e-petition at www.independent.co.uk/petition