Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Afghan test

I know that "democracy" in Afghanistan and Iraq won’t look like what we have here, but this shouldn’t fly. The President needs to place a phone call to his good friend Hamid Karzai, reminding him of what he said while visiting Kabul earlier this month:

In our country, you can worship freely. You’re equally American if you’re a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Jew. You’re equally American if you don’t believe in an Almighty. Under the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, there is no religious freedom. You have no chance to express yourself in the public square without being punished. There is no capacity to realize your full potential.

Is it any different under Hamid Karzai?

For more, go here and here.

These would seem to be the relevant provisions of the Afghan Constitution:


We the people of Afghanistan:

1. With firm faith in God Almighty and relying on His lawful mercy, and Believing in the Sacred religion of Islam,

5. Observing the United Nations Charter and respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

8. For creation of a civil society free of oppression, atrocity, discrimination, and violence and based on the rule of law, social justice, protection of human rights, and dignity, and ensuring the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people,

Chapter I The State

Article 1 [Islamic Republic]

Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state.

Article 2 [Religions]

(1) The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam.

(2) Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law.

Chapter II Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens

Article 3 [Law and Religion]

In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.

Article 24 [Liberty, Human Dignity]

(1) Liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limits unless affecting the rights of others or public interests, which are regulated by law.

(2) Liberty and dignity of human beings are inviolable.

(3) The state has the duty to respect and protect the liberty and dignity of human beings.

Article 54 [Family]

(1) Family is a fundamental unit of society and is supported by the state.

(2) The state adopts necessary measures to ensure physical and psychological well being of family, especially of child and mother, upbringing of children and the elimination of traditions contrary to the principles of sacred religion of Islam.

Article 119 [Oath of Office for the Supreme Court]

Members of the Supreme Court take the following oath in the presence of the President before occupying the post:

"In the name Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate

I swear in the name of God Almighty to support justice and righteousness in accord with the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam and the provisions of this Constitution and other laws of Afghanistan, and to execute the duty of being a judge with utmost honesty, righteousness and nonpartisanship."

On apostasy in Islam, see this.

Update: Richard Garnett offers a spirited response to a colleague who worries about coercing the consciences of the Afghans who seek to execute the Christian.

Discussions - 7 Comments

But you have no right to consent to another religion, because a vote was taken making it an Islamic Republic. This means that the scope of your consent is directly limited by islamic law, ergo you cannot become a christian if you so choose, because that is not a choice open to you, if at any time previously you were muslim. The people have decided, and he is being prosecuted according to the Sharia. It is good for him, to be a slave(or submissive to the Koran), and to die if he does not choose to convert back to islam...because it is for the betterment of his soul...and the soul of his society. This is Dain’s position taken to the extreme. And ultimately the position of anyone who believes that a social contract can protect individual rights(especially when you believe these derive from voting), while maintaining that society can limit the bounds of consent. Essentially it is anti-Lockeanism. Because no care is given to allow the individual the necessary freedom possible for a true religious faith in the first place.(provided that faith is not Islam)

Case in point why elections are not enough to qualify a government as liberal democracy.

Wow...Just replace the word "Islam" with "Christianity" and you have a constitution that most of those here at NoLeftTurns would probably love for the United States.

Not really paying attention, are you "Interested."

I guess Interested got tired of typing or he would have continued with the full sobriquet "Interested and Clueless".


This guy needs to be interviewed by Fox News. In New York. He could have a debate with Anne Coulter, who suggested converting all of the middle east to Christianity, and... say...somebody from CAIR. And while he’s here, political asylum sounds good.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." A good Lockean reply, for anyone who does not recognize that toleration only has a place in a tolerant society that permits people the right to Life which is essentially the right to consent to Reason or the dictates of whatever religion they see fit, provided that in doing so they do not directly do harm to others.

So long as Islam maintains that one cannot convert from the religion it essentially holds people in submission and slavery under penalty of death. In this sense it is the most vile of religions, completly incompatible with liberal democracy, because it is against the preconditions for human thought and reason...

And Dain, it doesn’t matter how many people in the country are muslim...or how many would vote to kill him...he has the right to think, because he has an obligation to survive and prosper.

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