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Taliban, The Sequel

January 27, 2002

There’s good news and bad news from Afghanistan. The good news is that the bad guys are out. The bad news is that the bad guys are in again.

"What?!? I thought our military got rid of the Taliban government!" They did. And then an international coalition headed by that great bastion of democracy, the United Nations, installed its own government in Afghanistan headed by a "gentleman" named Hamid Karzai.

Frankly, at first I was impressed by the new prime minister of the "interim government." They were smart to choose someone fluent in English, since in addition to convincing the Afghans that he is doing the right thing, he needs to convince America and Great Britain to give Afghanistan billions of dollars. I thought Karzai spoke convincingly of his commitment to "reform." And that little gray goat’s hair hat he always wears is kind of sporty.

By way of background, Karzai is a tribal leader of the Pashtun tribe, which is the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. He fought against the Soviet Union during the 1980s, and served as deputy foreign minister in Afghanistan from 1992 to 1994 following the defeat of the Soviets. He recently traveled to Rome to receive the blessing of the exiled former king of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah, who was ousted in 1973. Shah, also a Pashtun, will return to Afghanistan soon to convene a national assembly of tribal leaders. This assembly will choose a government to lead Afghanistan for a two year period. During this time a Constitution is supposed to be drafted and a judicial system put into place.

Every good thought I initially had about Mr. Karzai evaporated abruptly when I heard him describe the legal system that his interim government will impose on the Afghan people. It seems that just about the only difference between the "reform" judicial system and the one run by the Taliban will be that the women will no longer be required to wear their sky blue burkas. Karzai appears determined to impose his idea of justice on Afghanistan during his six month interim government, rather than waiting for the permanent government to make its decision about the direction the legal system should take. My belief is that Karzai hopes to appease the radical Muslim element in his country by this move, thus ensuring his place in the power structure of the permanent government.

Although the liberal media has widely ignored his statements, Karzai has not been at all shy in stating that his government will strictly follow the Shari’ah, the Islamic system of jurisprudence decreed by the Koran. This brutal, backward system of "law" is a major feature of the Islamic religion, which the politically correct among us persist in referring to as "peaceful."

Explain to the poor man accused of stealing by the religious police how "peaceful" the religion is which requires that his hand be chopped off in the town square. Already in financial difficulties, how will this one-handed man find employment to support his family? Crippled for life by his brutal religion and government, I doubt he will find much comfort in the fact that the liberal PR machine has convinced much of the world that Islam is "peaceful."

Our very liberal news media has conveniently ignored the fact that Karzai is also determined to publicly stone to death adulterers. Now, I am no fan of adultery. The Bible, as well as every religion known to man, condemns adultery. Common sense condemns it; how can we have strong families if husbands and wives cannot trust one another? I can understand why thousands of years ago, when there was little social order or effective legal systems, stoning for adultery was required. Yet, although the Old Testament called for stoning, Jesus in the New Testament did not. Here’s a news flash for Mr. Karzai - we’re in the twenty-first century. Your religious law is missing a few thousand years worth of updates.

The Afghan people are just a few baby steps away from being cave dwellers. Most of them live almost exactly like their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Their strict adherence to a bloody and backward religious code has prevented them from being exposed to modern thought, and Karzai seems determined to perpetuate this fact for his own purposes. An ignorant populace is easier to control.

Hamid Karzai even had the gall to scold the international community for pledging "only" four and a half billion dollars to his new government. I think all of the civilized nations who have pledged these funds to this decidedly uncivilized nation (which seems determined to remain uncivilized) should attach a few basic conditions to their gifts. Here are my suggestions:

First, find an alternative to publicly smashing your countrymen’s skulls with rocks until they die with their brains spilling out on the ground. Figure out some punishment besides maiming petty thieves for life or cutting out the tongues of liars. I suspect that even a short stay in the cesspools you call prisons would convince anyone to live a virtuous life forever.

Second, Great Britain, the US and the rest of the Western world need to pressure Afghanistan to re-evaluate their announced judicial system. They should be offered a choice: if their legal system is run by the principles of Shari’ah, then the US and the West will not help. If they do not use the Shari’ah, then we will help. If the benighted Islamic law is so important to them, then let the Moslem countries help them.

Is that imposing Western ideas on a sovereign nation? Yes, but as previously discussed so often in these columns, only with those Western ideas and ideals will you have freedom. Under Islamic law, there will be no true freedom.

This poor old world needs another nation run by Muslim fanatics like it needs another outbreak of the black plague. We’ve seen "Taliban, The Movie." No one liked it. Let’s stop production of "Taliban, The Sequel."

Editor’s Note: I would like to thank Editor Glenn Palmer for significant contributions to this article.

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Copyright ©2002 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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