The Associated Press wants to charge bloggers $12.50 to quote five words from AP articles. See this rate chart for the evidence. I’m not sure which is more frustrating – that the AP has so little respect for the value of a free exchange of information in a free society, that they have so little understanding of “fair use” in copyright law, or that at least some people, intimidated by take-down notices and the like, will actually pay for doing something they have a legal right to do. It’s kind of amazing.
I posted, a couple days ago, on the situation of Abdul Rahman, the Afghan Christian who was facing the death penalty for his conversion from Islam. CNN is reporting that he will be released “in the coming days.” (Link to follow)
In case you haven’t heard, yet, Abdul Rahman, an Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity has been arrested and is awaiting trial, at which he faces the possibility of the death penalty. CNN.com has the full story.
This is, obviously, an outrage. While freedom of religion is hardly universal and while other nations routinely persecute Christians and others for their beliefs, Afghanistan has a government the United States helped to create and which the United States is still actively protecting with military force. I’m fairly certain the possibility of people being executed by the new Afghan government for expressing a religious preference other than Islam was not in the minds of any Americans who helped oust the Taliban from power and install the current Afghan government. As Rep. Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, said in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, “In a country where soldiers from all faiths, including Christianity, are dying in defense of your government, I find it outrageous that Mr. Rahman is being prosecuted and facing the death penalty for converting to Christianity.”
It appears that our own government and the governments of Germany, Italy, and Canada, are expressing the appropriate level of outrage, at this point; let’s pray they keep it up until Mr. Rahman is free to go home.
UPDATE: In an unsurprising move, Muslim clerics in Afghanistan are saying that Rahman must die. If he is freed, some clerics say, the population will kill him (and some of the clerics seem intent on ensuring that outcome).