Oh, well, here's a lovely story from Afghanistan. Seems two young lovers tried to elope, were caught, and were stoned to death yesterday…
The punishment was carried out by hundreds of the victims’ neighbors and even their family members in a village in northern Kunduz Province, according to Nadir Khan, 40, a local farmer and Taliban sympathizer, who was interviewed by telephone.
As a Taliban mullah prepared to read the judgment of a religious "court," Mr. Khan said the lovers, a 25-year-old man named Khayyam and a 19-year-old woman named Siddiqa, defiantly confessed in public to their relationship.
"They said, 'We love each other no matter what happens,' " Mr. Khan said.
But surely this was just some terrible backwards local tribal thing, yes? Surely, there is not popular support for this sort of activity?
Perhaps most worrisome were signs of support for the action from mainstream religious authorities in Afghanistan. The head of the Ulema Council in Kunduz Province, Mawlawi Abdul Yaqub, interviewed by telephone, said Monday that stoning to death was the appropriate punishment for an illegal sexual relationship, although he declined to give his view on this particular case.
And less than a week earlier, the national Ulema Council brought together 350 religious scholars in a meeting with government religious officials, who issued a joint statement Aug. 10 calling for more punishment under Shariah, apparently referring to stoning, amputations and lashings.
Failure to implement such "Islamic provisions," the council statement said, was hindering the peace process and encouraging crime.
Okay, so, cultural relativism teaches us to say, "Oh, every culture has different rules and different ideas, and who are we to say one culture's system of not-stoning-people-to-death-for-minor-moral-infractions is better than another culture's system of happily-stoning-people-to-death-for-minor-moral-infractions? We are all a beauteous mosaic of different traditions." And, on the other hand, simple pragmatism teaches us that "Afghanistan is full of misogynist pre-medieval douchebags now, was full of misogynist pre-medieval douchebags before we got there, and will almost certainly be full of misogynist pre-medieval douchebags after we leave."
Is there not some way for us to build a bridge by which the cross the gulf between our two cultures? Preferably not with stones, though.
Tags: Afghanistan, Islam, Military, Religion, Taliban