Thursday, 31 January 2008

Saving lives and making a difference

posted by Kathy

Sometimes it doesn't seem possible to make a difference. However, last weekend I read on Craig Murray's blog that Jahongir Sidikov, the young Uzbek dissident who was nearly deported, had been granted asylum by the Home Office. This reversal, which may have saved his life, was probably helped by all the letter-writing and blogging on Jahongir's behalf. Somtimes it is possible to make a difference.

Today the Independent is asking readers to sign a petition on behalf of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, a student who has been sentenced to death by the Afghan courts for reading and circulating and internet report in Farsi which suggested argued that the oppression of women was based on a misrepresentation of the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. The death sentence on Sayed Pervez Kambkash, who is 23 years old, was confirmed yesterday by a motion in the Afghan senate.

I don't know any more details than are given here in the Independent. It seems strange from a Quaker perspective to sentence a young man to death just because he tries to provoke a debate. Quakers have a long history of opposing the death penalty. Quakers have also, in the past, suffered for questioning mainstream religious views, political norms and social customs. (They seem to have gone much further than this young man in disrupting and questioning accepted views.) Quakers have a history of dialogue with Muslims, which has been marked by courtesy, if not always by mutual understanding.

You can sign the petition HERE.

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