Their crime? Translating the Koran because many Afghanis can't read Arabic:
No one knows who brought the book to the mosque, or at least no one dares say. The pocket-size translation of the Koran has already landed six men in prison in Afghanistan and left two of them begging judges to spare their lives. They're accused of modifying the Koran and their fate could be decided Sunday in court.It's a disturbing throwback to an era in Afghanistan where non-Muslims were required to wear yellow cloth stitched to their clothing (sound familiar?) and conversion to any other religion meant death. The Taliban are gone, but the hardliners aren't:
The trial illustrates what critics call the undue influence of hardline clerics in Afghanistan, a major hurdle as the country tries to establish a lawful society amid war and militant violence...
...Many clerics rejected the book because it did not include the original Arabic verses alongside the translation. It's a particularly sensitive detail for Muslims, who regard the Arabic Koran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Koran itself, and a mistranslation could warp God's word.It's up to Afghanistan to sort out who they are, and what laws will govern them. But if we aren't careful, the cradle that birthed 9/11 will still exist. It will be the same play, just with different actors.
The country's powerful Islamic council issued an edict condemning the book.
"In all the mosques in Afghanistan, all the mullahs said, 'Zalmai is an infidel. He should be killed,'" Zalmai recounted as he sat outside the chief judge's chambers waiting for a recent hearing.
Zalmai lost friends quickly. He was condemned by colleagues and even by others involved in the book's printing. A mob stoned his house one night, said his brother, Mahmood Ghaws.
Police arrested Zalmai as he was fleeing to Pakistan, along with three other men the government says were trying to help him escape. The publisher and the mosque's cleric, who signed a letter endorsing the book, were also jailed...
The full story is here.