In Afghanistan, journalist Ghaws Zalmay faces the death penalty for printing a translation of the Koran (Qur’an) in in Dari, one of Afghanistan’s official languages. Yet, even if he is acquitted religious leaders are promising that he will still be put to death for his blasphemy as required under Sharia law. It is certainly a good thing that we got the Taliban out of power.
Zalmay was trying to flee to Pakistan when he was caught and charged with 13 counts of blasphemy. Religious leaders accused him of having “written his own Koran” and there have been widespread protest calling for his immediate execution in the name of Islam. Former Prime Minister Ahmadshah Ahmadzai has joined the calls for his execution.
Zalmay only recently received a lawyer — months after his arrest and arraignment — because Afghan lawyers did not want to be accused of supporting a blasphemer. Finally, a brave attorney named Abdulqawi Afzali took the case.
Still, a success in the courtroom may simply lead to a lynching in the street.
Ironically, Zalmay was a government spokesperson before he came a blasphemer. He insists that he did not actually translate the Koran but published the translation of another person.