Paul Marshall and Nina Shea

in Silenced

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812264
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919383 | DOI:

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Afghanistan's 2004 constitution, drafted with the financial support and legal guidance of the United States and the United Nations, contains a clause asserting that no law can contradict Islam – a law that is often the basis for punishing apostasy and blasphemy. Abdul Rahman, a Christian convert who was imprisoned, later freed and subsequently fled the country after international pressure, is the most widely known instance, but there is an ever-lengthening list of such cases, especially involving Muslim journalists. The editor of the magazine Haqooq-i-Zan (Women's Rights) was imprisoned for blasphemy for arguing against the apostasy law. Sima Samar, the minister for Women's Affairs, was accused of blasphemy for her criticism of the adoption of Islamic law, but was spared after international protest erupted. In 2008, a student journalist was condemned to death, a sentence later commuted, for downloading and circulating material on women's rights under Islam. Despite the presence of NATO forces and UN agencies, religious repression – even in government controlled areas of Afghanistan – appears to be increasing.

Keywords: 2004 Constitution; repugnancy clause; Taliban; apostasy; Abdul Rahman; Sima Samar; women; editors

Chapter.  7246 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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