Archive for the ‘Koran’ Tag

Two Afghan men could be executed for translating Qur’an

The Flag of Afghanistan, adopted in 2004.  Afghanistan has had 23 flags since the start of the 20th century---more than any other country--- including one that was all white and another that was all black.

The current Flag of Afghanistan

Just when you thought the human rights situation in Afghanistan couldn’t get more outrageous: two men in said country now face possible execution, and four others have been jailed, for the crime of… translating the Qur’an.  Frequent readers of this blog will no doubt recall the case of Parwez Kambakhsh who was first sentenced to death and then had that commuted to 20 years in jail for discussing women’s rights.  His case is still pending.

The present case involves Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai who translated to Qur’an from Arabic into one of Afghanistan’s several local languages for people who can’t read the document in the original language.

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 Quran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Quran itself, and a mistranslation could warp God’s word.

The clerics said Zalmai, a stocky 54-year-old spokesman for the attorney general, was trying to anoint himself as a prophet. They said his book was trying to replace the Quran, not offer a simple translation. Translated editions of the Quran abound in Kabul markets, but they include Arabic verses.

Most English-language editions of the Qur’an include the Arabic text side-by-side with the English, and since books written in Semitic languages (including Hebrew) read back-to-front (from out point of view) you turn the pages of such books from left to right, not right to left.  Editions of the Qur’an without the Arabic are often considered to not really be the Qur’an, by some Moslems, but merely interpretations thereof, thus Marmaduke Pickthall’s well-known translation (as we would call it) is titled The Meaning of the Glorious Koran instead of just The Qur’an.

The Qur'an, or Koran, if you prefer

The Qur'an, or Koran, if you prefer

I can find no source indicating what, if any, errors or mistranslations the mobs in question are upset about.  Quite possibly, this is just an excuse for the imams to exercise power to keep people in line and for and the crowds to demonstrate their loyalty thereto.

All the men charged are pleading ignorance: the publisher didn’t read the book, the imam who signed a statement of support for it was tricked into doing so, Zalmai didn’t know it’d be a problem to omit the Arabic text.  Hopefully this case will garner international attention and the central government, led by Hamid Karzai, will be able to work something out.  Like they did with that convert to Christianity who, instead of being executed, was declared insane and allowed to flee the country.

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Somali girl, 13, executed for being raped

I don't particularly feel like commenting on the Flag of Somalia right now

I don't really feel like making any light-hearted comments on the Somali flag right now. Fly it at half staff permanently, in mourning for the whole country.

A thirteen-year old Somali girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, who reported being ganged raped by three men, was stoned to death this past Monday.  The public execution was ordered by Islamic militants who accused her of adultery; it was held in a stadium and attended by 1000 spectators.  Amnesty International and Somali media, who initially said Duhulow was 23, provided information on the execution, which took place in the nation’s third largest city, Kismayo.

Somalia is probably the only country on our planet that can give North Korea a challenge in the “most screwed up country” competition.  Since warlords overthrew the country’s dictator in 1991 it’s had virtually no government; it’s among both the most violent and poorest nations on Earth—a quarter of all Somali children die before the age of five.  Recently, Islamic militants, with Al Aqeda support, have gained strength in their fight against what government there is there.  The insurgency has killed thousands of people, gained control of Kismayo, where Aisha was killed.

The execution was carried out by about 50 men who killed another person, a young boy, during attempts by some witnesses to save her.  She was buried up to her neck in the ground before the stoning began.

At one point during the stoning, Amnesty International has been told by numerous eyewitnesses that nurses were instructed to check whether Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was still alive when buried in the ground. They removed her from the ground, declared that she was, and she was replaced in the hole where she had been buried for the stoning to continue.

According to Sheikh Hayakalah, the Sharia court judge, “the evidence came from her side and she officially confirmed her guilt, while she told us that she is happy with the punishment under Islamic law.”  Yeah.  I’ll bet.  I’ll also bet that, on Judgment Day, Sheikh Hayakalah would do anything to be a Sunday prostitute rather than who he is, the man who condemned Aisha in the name of God.

Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. — Qur’an, 3:185