Saturday, February 07, 2009

their capital crime was...translating the Qur'an

No one knows who brought the book to the mosque, or at least no one dares say.

The pocket-size translation of the Quran 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 Quran and their fate could be decided Sunday in court.

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.

The book appeared among gifts left for the cleric at a major Kabul mosque after Friday prayers in September 2007. It was a translation of the Quran into one of Afghanistan's languages, with a note giving permission to reprint the text as long as it was distributed for free.

Some of the men of the mosque said the book would be useful to Afghans who didn't know Arabic, so they took up a collection for printing. The mosque's cleric asked Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai, a longtime friend, to get the books printed.

But as some of the 1,000 copies made their way to conservative Muslim clerics in Kabul, whispers began, then an outcry.

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.

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.

Read it all here - 2 Afghans face death over translation of Quran


  1. Anonymous2:13 PM

    may be u hate Islam and may be you are an atheist or a christian. but keep your hatred and your views to yourself. because whatever your views on religion are, majority of the Maldivians are believers of the religion Islam. so respect the majority and stop publishing hateful comments made by people who don't know what they are talking about.when i say this you may think I'm a bearded fundamentalist.. I'm not.. I'm a female.. i don't wear burugaa. i've got a masters degree and i am working... these are things that even many non muslim women don't have the privilege to do.. I believe in Allah and believe that Islam is the best religion..but i don't believe that this gives me the right to criticize other religions.. so i don't go on writing hateful things about other religions.. why dont you also do the same and keep your views to yourself and stop writing all these.

  2. Anonymous2:16 PM

    my comment was not about this article of yours.but about the many anti Islam quotes that you have put on this blog.

  3. Anonymous4:15 PM

    Surah Usfoor

    1 2

    Surah Wasaya

    1 2 3


  4. Anonymous working woman with a Masters degree who believes in Allah and believes that Islam is the best religion,
    You may be all that, but you have missed the point - I have the right to criticize other religions.
    Have you not heard of freedom of speech or conscience?
    ..the anti-Islam do you like your own Minister of Islamic Affairs saying ""Shari’ah law ultimately requires the killing of those who leave Islam."?
    You must be some dumb zombie if you think I do not have the right to address and respond to such statements.
    BTW, your parents and you will get extra sawaab points if your clitoris was "shaved" - don't cut off the whole thing, your Perfect Man Mohammed said.
    Your literacy and your masters degree has done nothing for you if you believe your Islam is the best religion.
    Do you know that men are to rub dirt on their hands if there is no water to purify them following casual contact with a woman (such as shaking hands).
    Sura (5:6) - "And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it"
    Here is what your Islam says about your Masters degree -

    Bukhari (6:301) - "[Muhammad] said, 'Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?' They replied in the affirmative. He said, 'This is the deficiency in her intelligence.'"

    Bukhari (6:301) - continued - "[Muhammad said] 'Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?' The women replied in the affirmative. He said, 'This is the deficiency in her religion.'" Allah has made women deficient in the practice of their religion as well, by giving them menstrual cycles.

  5. Anonymous9:10 PM

    female circumcision is not a thing that islam advocates..obviously you are a maldivian. and that means born to maldivian parents. and being born a maldivian if you dont know this much then you definitely dont have any right to criticize islam or as you say exercise you freedom of thought..because exercising freedom of thought doesnt mean writing untrue and baseless things.. first get your facts right.. anyway from the disgusting way you use language its obvious that you are a person sick in mind.. so actually there is no use even talking with you or reading your articles... best of luck to you in your chosen path.

  6. Anonymous working woman with a Masters degree who believes in Allah and believes that Islam is the best religion,
    You are merely parroting what your Muslim teachers have fed you.
    From the way you respond to the post and comments its obvious that you are a person who do not use your brain regardless of your literacy and your Masters Degree...They have trained you not to use your intelligence.
    Obviously you did not like being told that Islam says that women are deficient in intelligence
    And instead of discussing it, you run away...with a parting shot that FGM is not Islamic...
    Scared of Allah?

  7. Anonymous12:08 AM

    From an early age Muslim women are required to accept their moral and social inferiority. “Within a few months after weaning, the female infant is well on the way to internalizing the role she will play in life as a woman: a subordinate, a person of little importance, destined to remain most of her life in a servile position in relation to the menfolk who will dominate her life: her father, brothers, husband, sons.”[89] She is also required to acknowledge that only males are allowed sexual privileges. She must accept polygamy and the ease of divorce, as her forbears were required to meekly accept sexual slavery.

  8. Anonymous10:44 PM

    Hey Dhivehi Resistance or whatever the hell you are,
    you did not insult us to the least bit, so could you carry on with your little dirty work until your destined time comes?
    AND THEN, HA HA HA.. guess we'll have the last laugh.

  9. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Hey " i wanna be a hero",
    kaley thiulheny male' gatha? kaleyah kereynetha mamee mihaa gatu huri meehekey kiyaafa nikunnan Islam dheenaa idhikolhah? Findeekee vaki varakah noon viyya. dhen hama bayaku atheist veeema maves atheist vaan, christian veema christian vaan, budhah alhukan kuraathi budhah alhukan kuran, dhen nethta kameh? kerenya kaleyge thi huri fenvareh alhe dhahkaalabey. Dhen maa molhu meehakah vegen, masho emme molhy! kaleyah emme furathama kaleyge bafa engunu goiy bunebala mihira dholhu roanaa yaa. dhen aissa anga fulhaa koffa bunaany islam dheen mihenney islam dheen ehenney, ma mihiry rangalhashey, ma mee maru nuvaane golayekey.
    ONE LAST WARNING: If you wanna know the deference between our beliefs, if you wanna compare, if you have the courage, dig this!
    YOU ARE NOT TO BE KNOWN, BETTER TO BE HIDDEN. coz if you do, the first thing i'll cut through is gonna be your throat.