New Afghan government investigates newspaper for ‘blasphemous article’

Oct 28, 2014

Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

By Tim Craig

Top staffers at an Afghan newspaper are being investigated for blasphemy after the publication of an article that questioned whether Muslims should embrace the possibility that more than one God exists.

The investigation, apparently being led by intelligence and cultural affairs officials, came at the request of Afghanistan’s new president and chief executive officer.

Afghan officials stressed Wednesday that no arrests have been made.

The investigation could pose an early challenge for President Ashraf Ghani as he seeks to balance the wishes of Afghanistan’s conservative religious community and the expectations of Western governments, including in the arenas of press freedom and religious dissent.

Faced with skepticism among Islamic leaders about his past ties to the West, the former World Bank official had worked hard to burnish his conservative credentials during a June presidential runoff against Abdullah Abdullah, who is now the country’s chief executive as part of a power-sharing arrangement.


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14 comments on “New Afghan government investigates newspaper for ‘blasphemous article’

  • ” The letter to readers was unsigned, and the editor did not want to be identified because of fears for his safety. ”

    Even the hint of dissent brings a strong reaction here.

    Is someone going to say this has nothing to do with religion? I think even a Garofalo would have trouble rationalizing this type of everyday activity under this ” peaceful ” religion.

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  • Roedy Oct 29, 2014 at 3:00 am

    I find it odd that people are so protective of God’s tender feelings, as if he were too weak to take revenge on his own for blasphemy.

    Hasn’t Hell-fire been rained down on the Afghan and Iraqi people for the last decade or more?
    You would have thought their omnipotent god would have defended “troo believers”, from the West and from each other!

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  • This is a perfect example of how the bloated ego of the religious leader motivates them to employ emotional blackmail to stay in power.

    These vain, hypocritical, bigoted, talent-less popinjays see in their prophets and gods, themselves reflected.


    In Julius Caesar, when asked to swear to the conspirators’ resolution, Brutus says:

    “No, not an oath.
    …swear priests and cowards and men
    Old feeble carrions and such suffering souls
    That welcome wrongs; …”

    He knew, did old Will’; he was on to them.

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  • @OP – Top staffers at an Afghan newspaper are being investigated for blasphemy after the publication of an article that questioned whether Muslims should embrace the possibility that more than one God exists.

    I suppose they could call on the Hindus as expert witnesses!

    The Hindu scriptures claimed that there were 33 Crore or 330 million (1 Crore = 10 million) gods. The number might be figurative but there are several names and forms for the multitude of gods. [10] Given below is an incomplete list of deities.

    . . .. . and neither the Muslims nor the Xtians have DISPROVED their existence!!!!! Ha! ha!

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  • Meanwhile next-door in Pakistan the “religion of peace” has been at work again:

    Pakistani police have arrested at least 43 suspects in connection with Tuesday’s killing of a Christian couple accused of desecrating the Koran.

    Reports say the couple were beaten to death by hundreds of locals who then burned their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked in Punjab province.

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the murders “an unacceptable crime”.

    Allegations of blasphemy are often used in Pakistan to settle personal scores or to target members of minorities.

    Police say the suspects are due to appear in court on Wednesday in Lahore. The victims have been identified as Shehzad Masih and his wife Shama.

    Union leader Farooq Tariq told the BBC that the dispute was actually over money.

    “The owner of the brick kiln gave it a religious colour, and they locked up the Christian woman Shama for two days, then attacked her with shovels, then tortured her husband and threw them in the brick kiln.

    “It’s the worst misuse of religion,” he said.

    In a statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said “a responsible state cannot tolerate mob rule and public lynching with impunity”.

    “The Pakistani state has to act proactively to protect its minorities from violence and injustice.”

    Pakistan’s blasphemy laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam.

    Since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been found guilty of desecrating the Koran or of blasphemy.

    While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence.

    However, correspondents say even the mere accusation of blasphemy, or defending someone accused of blasphemy, is enough to make someone a target for hardliners.

    In May gunmen in the city of Multan shot dead a lawyer, Rashid Rehman, who had been defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy.

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  • Religion compatible with science? or even compatible with variants of its own following? Not really!!

    Pakistan’s Nobel prize winner’s gravestone defaced in Rabwah

    Abdus Salam may be Pakistan’s first and only Nobel prize winner for his work in theoretical physics, but he was an Ahmadi and his gravestone has been defaced to remove the word Muslim.

    The Ahmadi movement identifies itself as Muslim and follows the teachings of the Koran, but it is regarded by orthodox Muslims as heretical – because of its interpretation of certain Koranic writings.

    A Pakistani policeman has been arrested after allegedly killing a man with an axe because he suspected him of committing blasphemy.

    Police say Faraz Naveed struck the victim, Tufail Naqvi, on the neck and head after the latter was arrested during a street fight on Wednesday.

    The victim is reported to have had a history of mental instability.

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