Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Party like it's 1697

An Afghan citizen has been granted asylum in the UK for religious reasons - because he is an atheist... Lawyers ... said the man's return to Afghanistan could result in a death sentence under Sharia law as an apostate - someone who has abandoned their religious faith - unless he remained discreet about his atheist beliefs. 

Which must have embarrassed those politicians and officials who'd have preferred to show off how tough* they are by rubber stamping the word "bogus" on the poor man's forehead, before abandoning him to the mercy of the first idiot fanatic who fancies killing an infidel. Not to mention anyone claiming that the Yanks and Brits are getting out of Afghanistan because their nation-building mission has been successfully accomplished, rather than because they're cutting their losses.

According to the Islamic calendar, the current year is 1435AH, which translates to 2014 AD in the Gregorian calendar. At least it does in most countries where religion has been tamed into something reasonably civilised, if woolly-minded. In Afghanistan and six other states, the equivalent calendar's only got up to 1697.**

*Not that there's anything very big, clever, or special about that sort of "toughness" - we have all strength enough to support the misfortunes of others, as somebody once said. Update - it looks as if some officials may also have been disappointed to miss out on the incentives of shopping vouchers and bonus holiday entitlements, which are apparently being dished out to encourage staff to get refugees sent back to places where human rights abusers can conveniently torment, torture, or kill them.

**Actually, worse than 1697. They had Thomas Aikenhead killed for blasphemy, whereas there are still seven countries where you don't even have to blaspheme - just being an unbeliever makes you guilty and worthy of death.